One finger, one thumb…keep moving!

In my job, no two days are the same and last week they definitely weren’t!

Who knew that learning about diabetes (type 2) prevention could be so much fun! If anyone mentioned diabetes or prevention of diabetes to me I would automatically think diet & exercise and not necessarily about my sedentary behaviour – more on that later.

Here we all are:(L to R) Me, Deirdre, Fiona, Karuna, Benita, Jacqui, Mark and JJ


I attended a two-day PRE-STARt training workshop @ Leicester Diabetes Centre on the General Hospital site; to learn about the programme and be able to deliver the prevention training to families in the future. The aim of the PRE-STARt programme is to promote healthier lifestyles and try to change behaviours.

PRE-STARt stands for PREvention STrategies for Adolescents at Risk of diabetes.

‘Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that leads to both micro- and macro-vascular complications…over the last few decades, the traditional profile has dramatically altered. There has been a sharp, tenfold increase seen in younger age groups, exacerbated by increasing levels of obesity and sedentary lifestyles’


When you arrive at a new place and everyone is very welcoming you know you are in for a great time and I wasn’t disappointed.

I found the room where the training was taking place and met the other trainers who had also delivered some of the projects around Diabetes. We instantly hit it off and were laughing and joking before the session had even begun. In total there were five of us having the training with a variety of trainers and speakers coming in over the two days. They managed us very well and were very laid back whilst keeping us on task!

Jacqui (dietician specialising in diabetes and our trainer) and JJ started the session off and we all had to find out about and introduce our neighbour. Mark used to be a teacher at secondary school but now ran his own gardening business, Fiona used to be a nurse and now works as an ‘end of life’ practitioner at the General Hospital,  Bouncing Benita runs her own fitness classes and last but not least Karuna is trained in dietetics and sees clients privately. They had all delivered the Desmond diabetes programme. I was the only newby 😀

Deirdre (Lecturer in Physical Activty, Sedentary Behavioir & Health at the University of Leicester) came in to give us an overview of the programme and had been involved from the start. I first met Deidre when she came to one of my Family Learning classes in Coalville to trial a questionnaire on my parents, last year.

Deirdre explained that this study was being funded by the EU and had been developed in collaboration with four other countries across the EU including Germany, Spain (Basques country), Greece, Portugal and United Kingdom of which Leicestershire is the only area in the UK taking part.  All the countries have the same issues around diabetes and are trying to intervene and prevent it occurring in young people. The big plus with this intervention programme is it is delivered to parents and children aged 12-14 years at the same time. A whole family approach.

The aim of the PRE-STARt intervention is to promote a healthier lifestyle whilst changing behaviours to increase physical activity, reducing sitting time and improve dietary habits.

The Intervention: includes 8 sessions lasting 90 minutes with some theory and a 10 minute activity at the end.

  1. Being Healthy
  2. Moving More
  3. Getting the Balance Right
  4. Sitting Less
  5. Building a Better Breakfast
  6. Choosing Healthy Snacks and Drinks
  7. Treats and Healthier Snacks
  8. Making a Family Plan

Next in to come and give us some more information was Charlotte who is the Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Health. Charlotte spent a lot of time talking about sedentary behaviour or sitting on our bums to you and me.

We, as a race, spend far too much time on our bottoms. Sitting at a computer desk, sitting in meetings, sitting watching the T.V, sitting…sitting…sitting and that is not good for a healthy lifestyle. If we could just move around more we would be far better off – health, weight and illness prevention wise. The recommendation is to get up and have a walk round of at least 250+ steps every hour.

The families on this prevention programme will be issued with an activity monitor/watch to try and encourage them to move around more. It will monitor steps, miles, calories, sleep and remind the wearer to get up and move about every hour. Should be interesting to see the results.

I have a fitness tracker and love using it to challenge myself and others to see who can walk the furthest over the week, I am now monitoring how much time I spend sitting whilst trying to get up every hour to do a walk about. It is harder than you think!

My activity stats – BOOM!

Day 2 was all fun! fun! fun!

On arriving at the room for day two, all the activities for the programme were laid out on tables…what a bright and welcome sight. We were in for some more fun!

We started to go through the Facilitator Manual and act out the lesson plans. as you can see the Snakes and Ladders mat was used for other things!

All of the resources are bright and colourful and fun looking to engage both parents and teens.We spent the next few hours working our way through the weeks, having a go at the activities, discussing how we would deliver a specific topic and generally having a lovely time.

Each session is made up of 90 minutes which is broken down into:

  • Getting Started: 15 minutes – refresh from previous week, look at goals set and achieved and discuss any challenges people have found during the week.
  • Get Going: 55 minutes – the learning part with some discussion around healthy eating or exercise or ways to move more, building a healthier breakfast, looking at snacks, fast food, treats and drinks. This section has between one and five different activities to be looked at engaged with.
  • Let’s Go: 20 minutes – setting a goal for the coming week and 10 minutes ‘Time to be Active’ run around session doing an activity as a group.

PRE-STARt activities
We then had a few group photos taken and the obligatory selfies so we could all remember each other and use them for promoting the study.


What did I learn?

  • That being sedentary is causing us all serious health problems
  • We all need to be more active and stand up and walk around every hour
  • Have stand up meetings

Well I can’t wait for the families to get on board now so we can start the study and see if the intervention has any impact.

Want to find out more or sign your family up for the study contact Deirdre on

or call her on 0116 258 8630


#diabetes #prevention #teens #families #teenagers #training #PRE-STARt #study