Medibank hs announced a new pilot that will examine whether a personalised weight loss program and an increase in physical activity can better manage type 2 diabetes for newly diagnosed patients or even reverse it in some cases.
Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia and is rising at a faster rate than cancer and heart disease. More than 1 million Australians are currently living with the disease.
Medibank said the 'Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes' pilot will be delivered remotely with the support of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Austin Health.
Eligible customers will be provided with a very low-calorie diet and personalised one-on-one support with a dietitian. The goal is to improve their diabetes management or even achieve remission from type 2 diabetes in some patients within 12 months.
Two-thirds of Australians are considered to be above a healthy weight range. Yet it takes them an average of six years to discuss weight with their healthcare professional.
Medibank's Rebecca Bell highlighted research that shows the likelihood and severity of type 2 diabetes is closely linked to weight. More than half of all type 2 diabetes diagnoses are related to excess weight.
“We developed Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes to shine a light on this growing health need and to help our customers better manage their condition,” said Ms Bell.
“We will give participants all the resources they need to set them up for success. A dietitian will work with each of the participants to develop a tailored weight loss plan and they will be supplied with up to 18-weeks of meal replacements, up to 10 video consultations with a dietitian, weight scales, measuring tapes, supermarket shopping guide and a cookbook.”
A UK study has found that very low-calorie diets paired with clinical support led to type 2 diabetes diagnoses being reversed at 12 months in half of the participants.
Ms Bell said, “Medibank is focused on delivering preventative health programs that can continue to support Australians out of a hospital setting as well as those in remote and regional areas.
“The launch of Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes is in addition to Medibank’s remotely delivered preventative health focused programs like Better Knee, Better Me, Heart Health at Home, OptimalMe and Live Better.
“We know that it can be more challenging for Australians in regional and remote areas to access specialised programs, but Medibank’s preventative health programs are accessible to eligible customers no matter where they live.”
Medibank customers wanting to participate in the program will need to have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and get approval from their treating GP to participate. The program is open to customers with a resident hospital policy, who are covered for diabetes management.