Department for Health

Volunteers needed for research to control blood sugar levels

Wed Jul 16 13:57:00 BST 2014

Apple and orange with tape measure

Participants will look in detail at their own diet and fitness, and receive personalised advice on improving their health.


Our Department for Health is seeking local people who have problems controlling their blood sugar levels to take part in a research study to examine the benefits of making small lifestyle changes.

Volunteers will be asked to swap certain foods in their diet and incorporate two-minute sessions of activity for just 10 days. The aim is to see if small lifestyle changes can help with blood sugar control in the longer term.

Recent reports suggest that as many as 1 in 3 adults in England have ‘pre-diabetes’ where their blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Without intervention pre-diabetes can damage the heart and circulatory system and is likely to develop into type 2 diabetes in 10 years or less.

The research team is looking for women between the ages of 45 and 65 who are currently overweight and do not smoke. They are particularly keen to hear from women who have been told by their GP that they may have trouble controlling their blood sugars but are not yet receiving medication to treat it.

The study will look at the properties of certain immune cells located specifically in fat tissue as the researchers believe these cells may be sensitive to small changes in diet and activity, even for short periods of time, and may influence our overall health. They aim to investigate changes in these cells before and after the short period of diet and activity modification and compare them to changes in other health markers in the blood.

Dr Dylan Thompson, who will lead the research, said: "If this research can show that minor modifications to diet and exercise can have a long term impact on blood sugar levels, it stands to have great benefits for the thousands of people who are currently at risk of type 2 diabetes.

"There are great personal benefits for women who take part in the research, as participants will have an opportunity to look in detail at their own diet and fitness, and receive personalised advice on improving their health."

The volunteers will be given a full health MOT, including blood measurements for cholesterol, glucose and insulin, a DEXA scan to show percentage of body fat and muscle, an assessment of physical activity levels and a dietary assessment.

They will also receive a £50 gift voucher.

Research participants will be asked to attend one short visit to the University for some preliminary testing to assess eligibility, followed by two additional mornings spent in the laboratory, during which they will be able to read, work, watch television or a DVD.

For more information about the project, please contact: