Olympic legacy: Tackling the 'East London Diabetes Belt' is a major challenge

October 04, 2012

A study by Queen Mary, University of London researchers has shown the scale of the challenge facing those in charge of delivering the Olympic legacy. In three London boroughs they have found that, overall, as many as one in ten of the local population has a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next ten years. In some areas close to the Stratford Olympic Park up to one in six adults are at high risk.

The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice [1], analysed half a million electronic records for all people without diabetes, aged between 25-79, and registered with a GP in the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham and City & Hackney.

Using a scoring system known as the QDScore, the researchers were able to predict the percentage of the population that were at high risk (a 20% chance or more) of developing type 2 diabetes within the next ten years. They then applied this information to a map of the boroughs to produce a geospatial map that showed the level of risk in different areas, with 'hot spots' in areas of high risk [2].

"We found the risk of diabetes is very high, with about one in ten people being at high risk overall, and in some parts, such as the north-eastern corner of Newham, rising to around one in six," said Dr Dianna Smith who created the map and is a lecturer at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, part of Queen Mary, University of London (UK). "There is a geographical band of high risk across East London, which we've dubbed the 'East London Diabetes Belt' that runs near the Olympic Park and corresponds to some areas of deprivation and a high proportion of South Asian and Black ethnic groups."

The study found that approximately 50% of people with known cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure were at high risk. Other factors in the QDScore that increased the risk were: male gender, increasing age (20% of 40-79 year olds were at high risk), deprivation and obesity. Ethnicity affected risk, with more than twice as many people of South Asian ethnic origin at high risk (16.4%) compared to the White population (7.5%).

"Diabetes and obesity (one of the main causes of diabetes) are a major source of ill health and hospital admissions. The cost to the health service in the future will be extensive if we don't help people to control their risk. This is a gold medal moment at the start of the Olympic legacy period to prioritise tackling chronic disease and capitalise on the enthusiasm for physical activity generated by the Olympics," said Dr Douglas Noble, a public health doctor at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, who led the overall research.

Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, who was also part of the research team, said: "As a former national athlete [2], I can see few things more important than the health and wellbeing of the next generation. We know we've got an extensive problem in East London with lack of physical activity and poor dietary habits, which contributes to obesity and diabetes. Once diabetes has been diagnosed, it's an uphill battle to get it under control. It's far better to prevent it in the first place. Highlighting the risk of diabetes gives people a chance to make important individual choices to reduce their risk. Increasing physical activity and eating more healthily, which leads to weight loss, reduces the risk of diabetes regardless of ethnicity or deprivation."

The researchers say the study could be used to help policy makers and planners design effective public health strategies that are targeted particularly at the groups most in need. "Mapping risk revealed the 'East London Diabetes Belt' and this could help to plan actions at local and national level to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly in regard to the Olympic legacy," concluded Dr Noble.
-end-
[1] "Quantifying the risk of type 2 diabetes in East London using the QDScore", by Rohini Mathur, Douglas Noble, Dianna Smith, Trisha Greenhalgh, and John Robson. British Journal of General Practice

[2] A jpg of the geospatial map is available to the media. Contact Katrina Coutts if you require it.

[3] Professor Trisha Greenhalgh was a member of the British Triathlon team between 1986-1988 and a national long-distance runner.

Queen Mary University of London

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.