Helping women with Type 2 diabetes to undertake a more healthy lifestyle is the aim of a wellness program developed by Griffith University, and is timely for this week’s National Diabetes Week 2017.

Led by Griffith’sMenzies Health Institute Queensland, and funded byDiabetes Queensland, the nurse-led study aims toreduce the significant side effects associated withType 2 diabetes whilst also reducing therisk of developingother chronic health conditions.

“As part of the Women’s Wellness with Type 2 Diabetes study, women aged 45-65 with this condition are undertaking an evidence-based e-health 12-week lifestyle intervention focusing on diet, exercise and managing side effects of diabetes and its treatment,” says clinical nurse manager Janine Porter-Steele.

“They each receive access to a specially designed website, iBook and hard-copy book providing them with a step-by-step approach to implementing good health practices.

“Throughout the 12 weeks, the participants are guided by an experienced registered nurse to support them in goal setting and maintaining motivation.”

Each study participant will have access to three online consultations with anurse who will provide advice regarding sleep, diet, exercise, alcohol intake and stress levels.

A step-by-step approach

“The step-by-step approach can be adapted for the personal needs of each participant, with some key strategies introduced, says Ms Porter-Steele.

“This is more than just looking at someone’s diabetes is isolation. This is really about mitigating the potential long-term consequences of the condition, looking at the health and wellbeing of someone’s overall lifestyle eg concerning sleep patterns or even their menopausal issues, to make sure they can get the best possible outcomes.”

She says it’s also about myth busting. “There’s also a fair bit of stigma around diabetes in people believing it’s just brought on by being overweight, so we aim to take a look at that with women as well.”

Diabetes Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michelle Trute says she wants to know more about what helps women with type 2 diabetes live healthier, more active lives.

“Most middle-aged women know they need to eat healthily and be active. I’m interested in what builds the bridge between women knowing that, and putting that knowledge into practice.

“Diabetes in Queensland has increased by more than 900 per cent in the past 20 years, with more than 195,000 Queenslanders living with Type 2.

“This latest program will help the increasing number of Queensland women living with diabetes to be their best selves.”

The impetus for the new intervention is the bombardment of health misinformation, says Ms Porter-Steele.

“Unfortunately women are currently at risk of being overwhelmed with a vast amount of inaccurate health information, much of which is not evidence based e.g. regarding shonky weight-loss products and regimes,” she says.

“We want women to have the latest evidence-based research which they can understand and benefit from as a result of the 12-week program.

“The main aim is to improve the quality of life for women in this age range with Type 2 diabetes, with the reason for targeting this age group being that this is when the risk of developing the condition increases as a result of lifestyle factors.”