Researchers in NUI Galway are looking for participants nationwide for a study that aims to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Over 800,000 adults over the age of 40 in Ireland either have type 2 diabetes, or are at risk of developing it.
It is possible to prevent the condition through healthy eating and regular physical exercise. However, it can be difficult for people to maintain these healthy behaviours, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers are developing an online diabetes prevention programme and as part of this, they are looing for people to take part in their PRE-T2D (Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes) study.
This is a 15-minute online survey that is open to all adults living in Ireland.
"We aim not only to prevent diabetes, but help people to better manage their diet, exercise, and daily stress in the long run. This is particularly important as we currently face many new physical and psychological challenges due to the emergence of COVID-19," explained Luke Van Rhoon, a PhD candidate at NUI Galway.
People will be asked to share their views on diabetes, diet, physical activity, and a programme that uses a smartphone app and live health coaching to help people improve their health.
"Technology is becoming increasingly vital in the self-management of our health and how we communicate with healthcare professionals, friends, and family. Although online diabetes prevention programmes have been successfully implemented in other countries, it is important to create a unique programme that suits the needs of the Irish population," Mr Van Rhoon said.
One of the study's supervisors, Prof Molly Byrne of NUI Galway, noted that Ireland is seeing an increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the community and this is linked with increasing levels of obesity and lower levels of physical activity.
"Developing new programmes which people really want to engage with to prevent diabetes is a priority for our health services. Online programmes can overcome some of the challenges affecting face-to-face programmes and we now know from the research that digital health interventions can be effective in increasing physical activity, changing diets and promoting weight loss," she explained.
She added that this research "will provide really important findings to ensure that online diabetes prevention programmes, which are developed in Ireland, are usable by the people who will benefit most from them".
The research is being conducted in collaboration with the National Programme for Diabetes. For more information and/or to take part, click here. You can also request a paper-based survey with free return postage by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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