World Diabetes Day Marked at University of Johannesburg (UJ)

​​​​The University of Johannesburg (UJ) joined the World Health Organization (WHO) and millions of concerned people around the world this Thursday, 7 April, 2016, to recognize World Diabetes Day, the primary global awareness campaign for diabetes.

This year’s World Diabetes Day theme is “Beat Diabetes”: Scale up prevention, strengthen care and enhance surveillance’.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, Chronic Disease Initiative in Africa, Pharma Dynamics, the University of North West and University of Kwa- Zulu Natal are conducting a study to test the effects of brief behavioural change counselling. Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist and Arrange are the 5 A’s that form part of this evidence-based protocol aimed at the opportunistic counselling of patients attending public sector primary health care services.

According to Ms Lynn van Rooy, Researcher and lecturer: Exercise Rehabilitation at the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Department of Sport and Movement Studies within the Health Sciences Faculty, “In 2012, the South African Demographic and Health survey found that roughly half of the adults surveyed did not meet the physical activity public health recommendations which is 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. Hence, providing health care practitioners working in the public sector within South Africa with a suitable physical activity intervention for patients at risk for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is an important part of any multi-component strategy for the prevention and management of NCDs.”

“Physical inactivity has been recognized internationally as a major independent modifiable risk factor for increasing NCDs, and growing secular trends for inactivity are associated with the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic dysfunction, obesity, hypertension, cancer and premature mortality,” added van Rooy

Numerous findings support this association, including longitudinal cohort studies suggesting at least a 1.5- to 2-fold greater risk of developing NCDs in persons who are insufficiently active. The protocol has been adapted to assist health care providers in offering brief behavioural change counselling on all modifiable health risk behaviours, including physical inactivity.

Van Rooy says the counselling uses autonomy supportive language and motivational interviewing and is accompanied by motivational educational physical activity and lifestyle materials. This method can provide the patient with more detailed information compared to what health care practitioners are able to deliver in a typical primary care consultation.

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