A new online campaign encouraging men aged 40 and over who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes to sign up for support has been launched by the NHS.
The campaign, which will use Facebook to reach millions of men, offers support with lifestyle changes and developing healthier habits to help avoid the condition.
Targeted adverts will highlight the increased risk among white men of this age and encourage them to sign up to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
The NHS says the programme has already helped hundreds of thousands of people and there are now 200,000 places available every year thanks to the NHS Long Term Plan.
The health service will post a series of sponsored Facebook ads over the next three weeks which will let users click through to a quiz by Diabetes UK.
If participants’ score is moderate or high they can refer themselves to a local service for support remotely or online, without having to go through a healthcare professional.
Access to the Healthier You programme has been fast-tracked after research found that people are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 if they have Type 2 diabetes.
The new drive follows a successful national campaign in August last year which targeted Black and South Asian communities who are more at risk of Type 2 diabetes from the age of 25.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity for the NHS in England, said: “The evidence is clear – obesity and Type 2 diabetes significantly increase the risk that many of us face from Covid.
“And we already knew that for men over 40 in particular, the risk of Type 2 diabetes steadily increases with age so it is crucial people in this group check their risk and get the right support.
“As we start to see signs of normal life returning, there has never been a better time to start living a healthier lifestyle and we want to support even more people to do this.”
Public health minister Jo Churchill said: “We want to be a healthier nation and obesity is one of our biggest health challenges – Covid-19 has shown us it is vital we act now.
“This initiative between the NHS and Diabetes UK is designed to support people, particularly 40-year-old men, on how to avoid Type 2 diabetes.
“Now is a great time to check your risk and do something about it.
“The Government has recently announced £100 million to support people achieve and maintain a healthier weight, and this is another initiative to help.
“By working together we can achieve our healthy weight strategy goals and halve the number of children living with obesity by 2030, protecting people and the NHS for a brighter future.”