A program know as HELP, offered by the Nepean-Blue Mountains Medicare Local (NBMML), is a healthy eating and lifestyle program for people living with type 2 diabetes in the Hawkesbury and surrounding areas.
Hawkesbury resident, John de Boer, is a mountain bike enthusiast and soccer referee who was diagnosed with diabetes seven years ago.
He enrolled in the program and said it had helped him improve his quality of life.
“I knew diabetes was fairly significant but I didn’t take it seriously,” Mr de Boer said.
‘‘Having grown up in Holland, I inherited a love of pastries and I have maintained the taste for sweet food.
‘‘I never realised how important food was in managing diabetes.
“The program put me on the right track and helped me understand the significance and potential seriousness of diabetes.
‘‘I now know how to manage it and I’m already eating better, more interesting meals for less money.”
Delivered by dietitians, participants learn about lifestyle changes, weight loss goals, nutritional food labels, healthy selections when eating out and exercise options.
The program consists of one individual assessment followed by eight group sessions held over a three-month period.
NBMML Board Chair, Dr Shiva Prakash, said the prevalence of diabetes in the Hawkesbury was “concerning” with high rates of smoking, obesity, inactivity and unhealthy eating which are risk factors for diabetes.
“Regular visits to the GP will help to make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes or take control of the condition in its early stages,” Dr Prakash said.
Starting at the end of August, places are limited to 12 people.
■ Details: 47088100 or visit nbmml.com.au/HELP.