Free Diabetes Screening in Northfield on 31st January


To coincide with the New Year – a time when many people have recently made weight-loss resolutions – this week is National Obesity Awareness Week.

Obesity levels are now worryingly high in the UK, with 26% of the population classed as obese. That figure is just 12.9% across the Channel in France. This is a big problem, as obesity increases the risk of developing a number of serious diseases which reduce our life expectancy, cost the NHS and disproportionately impact on the poor and vulnerable. One of these is diabetes.

The number of people with diabetes is considerably higher in Birmingham than it is in the rest of the country – in some parts of the city it has reached 9.3%, compared with a 5% average across the UK. And both of those figures could be a lot higher when you include all of those people who don’t yet know they have diabetes. Living with diabetes is difficult, but the condition can be managed. That’s why it’s so important that everyone living with diabetes gets good treatment – and that means diagnosing those who don’t yet know about their condition.

So in two weeks time, on Saturday 31st January, I will be hosting the Silver Star diabetes charity’s visit to Northfield. Their mobile diabetes van will be in Sainsbury’s Northfield from 10am– 5pm, offering free diabetes screenings and BMI tests for anyone who wishes to have one. The tests can be completed within 3 to 5 minutes and the results are given immediately. Experts will also be on hand on the day to offer further advice and answer questions.

Growing levels of obesity are hugely concerning and that’s why it’s so important that National Obesity Awareness Week  is raising the profile of this issue. Labour is calling for a new approach to tackle this issue and we’ve launched a policy review on tackling child obesity to prevent the epidemic spreading further and make our children healthier. But as well as looking to the future, it’s crucial that we tackle this issue today. That’s why I am encouraging everyone come along and get these free tests – I look forward to seeing you there!

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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