It’s a simple idea to help improve the health of people with type 2 diabetes – but the Illawarra initiative is proving effective.
More than 70 people have so far taken part in a pilot study for the DTEXT program, which provides text messages with motivation, support and guidance on physical activity, nutrition and diabetes care for six months.
Researchers from the Illawarra Health and Medical Institute (IHMRI) are now looking for more participants for the ongoing trial which, if successful, will be made available for free across the state through the NSW Ministry of Health.
PhD candidate Karen Waller, said to gauge the effectiveness of the program, participants would have their cholesterol and diabetes level monitored along with lifestyle measures.
“Research shows that improvements in lifestyle and diabetes self-care can improve glycaemic control and reduce diabetes complications,” she said.
“If this can be achieved through a text message program, it provides a convenient and cost effective method to complement existing health care”.
Dr Susan Furber said the number of Australians with type 2 diabetes was estimated to increase from 870,000 to over 2.5 million in the next 20 years.
“This significant increase is due to factors such as high overweight and obesity rates and poor lifestyle behaviours,” she said.
“Research shows that improving your lifestyle by eating better; being more active and managing your diabetes well, can improve your health and reduce diabetes-related complications.
“Reducing these complications can also lead to a significant reduction in hospitalisations and the associated costs to the health care system.”
One of the participants of the pilot study, Jon Roberts, said: “What I liked about the program was that somebody cared and was there to help. Getting a message every day with helpful hints make you feel like you are not alone.”
Residents across the state with type 2 diabetes, who are not pregnant and are interested in taking part in the pilot study should visit DTEXT.com.au or phone 4221 6723.