UCL Population Health Sciences


Healthy living for people with diabetes

28 January 2020

A 'first of its kind' online tool developed at UCL has been helping people with diabetes manage their own health with easily accessible evidence-based information and support.

Healthy living for people with diabetes

There are currently more than 3.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and a further 500,000 people are believed to be living with the condition undiagnosed. Diabetes prevelence in the UK is estimated to rise to 5 million by 2025.

‘HeLP-Diabetes’ (Healthy Living for People with Diabetes) was developed by Professor Elizabeth Murray (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care) to help people cope with the physical and mental challenges of diabetes.

The online self-management programme provides information about type 2 diabetes and its treatments and offers emotional support and help with adopting and maintaining healthy behaviours such as diet and exercise. 

The design of the programme is informed both by scientific theory and the needs and preferences of patients, their families and health professionals. It has been developed through a process of participatory design where users (both patients and health professionals) were heavily involved in its creation.

Early trials of the tool found that people using it reduced their blood glucose levels, a crucial part of managing type 2 diabetes.

A UCL spin-out, HeLP Digital Community Interest Company was established to implement HeLP-Diabetes across the country, leading to it being commissioned by seven Clinical Commissioning Groups. HeLP-Diabetes is currently being trialled across the NHS with a national roll-out planned for 2020. This is a world-first in terms of national provision of an evidence-based online self-management support programme, illustrating the impact of UCL’s research on the wider public.


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Image credit: Illustration by Studio Imeus