Professor Rob Andrews is Associate Professor of Diabetes at the University of Exeter.

Exeter doctor to launch diabetes education programme in Denmark

A diabetes expert at the University of Exeter has been awarded a fellowship at the Danish Diabetes Academy to develop an education programme to help people with Type 1 diabetes to exercise safely.

The programme will also help to grow important research into Type 1 diabetes and exercise in Denmark.

Professor Rob Andrews is Associate Professor of Diabetes at the University of Exeter and a consultant at the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. He will be based at the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen.

He will bring together a group of experts in the field of physical activity and diabetes research, people with type 1 diabetes, and experts from Denmark and England, in the development of structured training programmes.

Their main task will be to investigate how an online training programme for people with type 1 diabetes can be culturally adapted for testing and implementation in Denmark.

While at Steno, Prof Andrews will also shape collaboration between scientists in Denmark and England so they can develop studies that will further our understanding of how best to motivate and support people with type 1 diabetes to be more physically active.

For over 20 years, Prof Andrews has led a specialised exercise and diabetes clinic, which currently supports more than 100 elite athletes with type 1 diabetes. He also headed up the development of an exercise programme, called EXTOD (exercise in type one diabetes) education, for people with type 1 diabetes.

“I’m honoured to have been asked by the Danish Diabetes Academy to become a visiting research professor,” said Prof Andrews. “The introduction of an exercise for type 1 diabetes programme will have so many benefits to people throughout Denmark with type 1 diabetes.

“The EXTOD programme was developed over 10 years and is based on extensive research where barriers to physical activity among people with type 1 diabetes were investigated and addressed.

“It also showed that people with type 1 diabetes can be physically active in a safe, secure, and effective way, thereby gaining the health benefits of physical activity.

“This is important as our self-reported and objectively measured data has established that people with type 1 diabetes tend to move one third less than other people.

“This could be a huge problem for their health and wellbeing as we know that physical exercise reduces mortality and variation in blood sugar level, as well as enhancing people’s quality of life.

“With the EXTOD programme already in place at NHS hospitals in the UK, this fellowship means we can extend the programme to help people in Denmark with type 1 diabetes feel empowered to continue to safely exercise. The study has also helped us to develop support methods for insulin and carbohydrate adjustment.”

Date: 14 June 2021

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