Person testing a small sample of blood on their finger

As part of our health and fitness month, our Diversity and Inclusion Manager Rachel Brown talks about the importance of having a supportive work environment which encourages colleagues to improve their health and the steps she has taken to reverse a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Hi, I’m Rachel, the Diversity and Inclusion Manager here at the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). I’ve battled with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes on and off throughout my adult life. In 2017 I became insulin dependent due to a complex pregnancy and I felt like my life had become so much more complicated. Having to inject multiple times a day and monitoring my blood regularly was very difficult especially as I’m needle phobic! And I’m not alone: there are currently 3.8 million people in England with type 2 diabetes, with around 200,000 new diagnoses every year.

When I joined the NHSBSA last year I had been given a six-month target from my GP to turn my health around and get my sugar levels under control. They offered me a place on a diabetic lifestyle programme, but the idea of exercising and discussing my eating habits with strangers filled me with dread – it wasn’t something that I felt comfortable with.

So instead I talked to a member of the NHSBSA’s local Wellbeing Staff Network – a group of staff from across the organisation who are dedicated to supporting their colleagues with a variety of issues relating to their health and general wellbeing. With their support, I’ve begun completing daily wellbeing walks and I’ve also started using the Change4Life Food Scanner app to keep track of the sugar I’m eating. I now check everything and have even become a little bit addicted! I’ve also made simple switches to ‘healthier choices’ and have upped my water intake, which has certainly helped too!

The support of my colleagues has been fantastic and although there’s a long journey ahead, I feel more confident that I can get there. Within the last month, my blood readings have reduced to below the target threshold and I am now on my way to reversing my type 2 diabetes.

I’d really encourage everyone to download the Change4Life Food Scanner app as it’s been a real eye-opener! It’s crucial that we help spread awareness of the risks that can occur from consuming too much sugar. Results of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) revealed that children in England are eating an extra 2,800 sugar cubes a year, that’s more than double the recommended guidelines.

That’s why the NHSBSA is supporting Change4Life to help families cut back on sugar.

You can sign up to Change4Life today for great prizes, easy tips and meal ideas.

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