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The Australian Government Department of Health is continuing to invest in online self-management and behaviour change programs for the growing number of Australians living with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Following the announcement that the MyDESMOND type 2 online program will become part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) in 2020, the Department of Health has recently commissioned Diabetes WA as the Australian DESMOND license holder to adapt and nationally pilot the Baby Steps online program for women who have previously had gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) to reduce the risk of Woman and baby in pramdeveloping type 2 diabetes.

Baby Steps form part of the evidence-based DESMOND family of programs developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre in the UK, an international centre of excellence in diabetes research. Australia will be the first country to commission this program on an international stage.

Deborah Schofield, General Manager for Health Services at Diabetes WA said “Through our strong international alliance with the Leicester Diabetes Centre, we’re delighted to announce this exciting news. The rates of GDM and type 2 diabetes are on the rise in Australia. Women who have had GDM are three to seven times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years.  It is fantastic that the Australian Government have given the go ahead to bring Baby Steps to Australia”.

Bernie Stribling, DESMOND’s Director noted that “When we established our licensing arrangements with Diabetes WA our intent was that we would progressively expand the global territories in which the DESMOND programs would be made available to people at risk of or living with diabetes.” Bernie continued “GDM and type 2 diabetes is a worldwide epidemic, so it’s great that we’re able to take Baby Steps around the world to help prevent type 2 diabetes and introduce an Australian audience to the program”.

Bernie added: “With the vast distances and remote populations in Australia, this promotes equity of access to quality programs for people with, or at risk of type 2 diabetes and a great example of international collaboration”.

Baby Steps is delivered on a digital platform and available on desktop, tablet or smart phone so users can interact with the program at their own pace and time. It includes the following features:

  • Interactive learning and booster sessions to help increase knowledge and confidence about preventing type 2 diabetes, through a range of videos, quizzes and educational materials
  • Intra-operability with wearable monitoring and tracking devices using Bluetooth technology e.g. Fitbit, Google Fit
  • Lifestyle challenges including inviting family and friends to join and create “buddy” challenges and participate in community leader boards
  • Track changes in weight, blood pressure, HbA1c, diet and cholesterol levels
  • Individualised behavioural based SMART goal setting and action planning
  • Online peer support area to chat with other members of the Baby Steps community
  • Opportunity to ask a Health Professional any burning questions.

Baby Steps is currently in pilot phase with a national sample of women providing feedback on the program to ensure it is relevant and effective for Australian women before a national roll-out proposed for next year.

For more information please contact babysteps@diabeteswa.com.au.

*DESMOND stands for Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed.

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