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Column: Lifestyle changes can prevent diabetes

Darren Greaves with Rovers' midfielder Matty Blair
Darren Greaves with Rovers' midfielder Matty Blair

Today is the start of Diabetes Prevention Week, a national campaign to identify those people who might be on the borderline and develop diabetes in the future.

I’ve been hearing about one of Doncaster’s biggest losers, who’s a real winner when it comes to reducing his risk.

A year ago, Darren Greaves, 32, from Rossington, weighed in at a massive 19st 2lbs, fuelled by a diet of greasy food and pizza and a sedentary job as a fork lift truck driver.

He had no energy, lacked confidence, felt lethargic and even the shortest of walks left him breathless.

Then he signed up for an eight weeks course with Fit Rovers - run by Club Doncaster Foundation at Keepmoat Stadium - which marked the beginning of a complete transformation of his life.

The Rovers’ fan is now a shadow of his former self, after losing over six stone through healthy eating and regular exercise. His waist has shrunk by 10” – from 42” to 32” and he’s joined a gym.

He caught the fitness bug at Fit Rovers, a lifestyle course funded by NHS Doncaster CCG to provide weekly exercise, diet and lifestyle advice sessions for local men, with plans to run sessions for local women at some point soon.

Darren has now progressed to Fit Rovers veterans’ group, attending their weekly keep fit sessions, rounded off with an hour of walking football alongside Keepmoat Stadium.

He now has no trouble running constantly for 90 minutes, compared to a year ago when he would have been, in his words, “huffing and puffing” within a minute.

He looks and feels great, oozes confidence and has started eating – and enjoying – vegetables, something he would have quickly swerved in favour of a fry-up a year ago.

Darren – pictured with Rovers’ midfielder Matty Blair - is a fantastic story of someone taking personal control. By making positive lifestyle changes he’s cut his risk of developing Type 2 diabetes - which can be prevented by losing weight, eating healthily and being more active.

You can find out if you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:

* Answering a few simple questions on the ‘know your risk’ tool at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk

* If you’re aged 40-74, taking up the offer of a free NHS Health Check to assess your risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other condition such as blood pressure.

* Asking your GP or practice nurse and they will check if you are eligible to be referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.