South east London ICB commissioned the Low Carb Program in June 2021 to provide structured education for patients with type 2 diabetes in south east and south west London.
Alongside type 2 diabetes structured education, health coaching and behavioral change support aligned to NICE guidelines, users can choose to follow a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean or balanced diet approach tailored to their health goals, needs and preferences. The platform provides live weekly cook-alongs, exercise classes, meetups, a moderated community, and AI-tailored recipe suggestions based on allergies, dietary requirements and cultural preferences.
“I found the weekly group sessions very useful. When you are trying to lose weight and feel like you are not making progress on certain weeks, you get encouragement from the health coaches and fellow members.” – Karthik S
By providing users with a personalised program to meet their needs, we make it so much easier for people to integrate healthy lifestyle choices in their lives and stick to a program of self-management. This helps to support long-term maintenance of a healthy weight and ongoing behaviour change.
The platform, delivered in nine languages, has proven to be very popular. Real-world data collected after 12 months demonstrates that 83 per cent of patients activated their referral, with 73 per cent of participants completing the intervention. Over 60 per cent of participants are from ethnic minority backgrounds and list English as a second language, with almost half digitally excluded. The project also supports the ICB’s broader Primary Care Green Plan to use local languages to convey important health messaging and understand the cultural needs of the communities affected.
“I went for a blood test the other day and my HbA1c has gone down from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent. I’ve also gone from 107kg to 91kg in 5 months” – Maxine K
We started with a series of digital patient workshops with prospective service users and existing patient champions from within the identified boroughs to understand local needs. South east London alone has an estimated 1.9 million residents and is an area of mixed deprivation. Over and above the language needs, we identified a requirement to support digital and digitally excluded users. The platform was integrated within the existing digital booking platform used in the borough and directed eligible patients with type 2 diabetes to the Low Carb Program.
“I have successfully maintained my blood glucose level and weight loss (17kg) over more than 12 months now.” – Albertos F
The project, supported by the Health Innovation Network, hasn’t just shown popularity but impact too. Self-reported measurements showed a -6.9mmol/mol HbA1c reduction and 6.2 per cent weight loss at 12 months. A five per cent weight loss reduction can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, stroke, type 2 diabetes related complications and some even cancers, such as breast cancer, by 12 per cent.
Notably, the service supports democratising access to digital tools for hard-to-reach communities. The project has led to the Low Carb Program’s outcomes being showcased to NHS England, which we are incredibly grateful for.
“It’s made such a big difference to my confidence. I love the new Mary!” – Mary R
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Find out more about the Low Carb Program and how it’s helping address health inequalities.Find Out More About the Low Carb Program