Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles for Diabetes (HEAL-D) in African and Caribbean communities

If you have diabetes there are lots of things you can do to help care for yourself and stay healthy, this is often called self-management. It can be hard to find reliable, relevant information about diabetes and how to manage it, but there is support available. HEAL-D will give you  information, advice and practical tips so you can make choices about your diet and lifestyle to help you manage your diabetes

Taking steps and making choices to stay healthy and manage diabetes can improve quality of life and reduce the chance of developing complications. 

For information about type 2 diabetes and things you can do to help care for yourself click the following link

These small, small things is what will come together to help you in your journey. Because we know that managing diabetes doesn’t mean managing it at home alone. It does mean also being free to enjoy the things that you normally enjoy”


The HEAL-D story 

HEAL-D was developed to support type 2 diabetes self-management among black African and Caribbean adults. HEAL-D was developed in partnership with people living with type 2 diabetes of African and Caribbean heritage. This is sometimes referred to as co-production and means that we spoke to people with type 2 diabetes, faith and community leaders and healthcare professionals to create the programme together. Through our community engagement work we have developed a better understanding of how to make the HEAL-D programme more relevant and we continue to speak to people who attend HEAL-D to keep making improvements.

HEAL-D was designed using the best available research, clinical and patient experience (evidence-based practice) and in-depth co-production. This resulted in a culturally tailored self-management programme that promotes engagement and healthy behaviour change to improve diabetes management.

For more information about the design and development of HEAL-D:

HEAL-D combines diet and lifestyle information, goal setting and exercise classes that are suitable for all abilities. It is a group programme which gives participants an opportunity to share experiences, learn together and support each other to make changes.

HEAL-D aims to:

  • Empower people in their self-management of type 2 diabetes, through adopting healthy physical activity and diet behaviours.
  • Offer lifestyle advice which is sensitive to cultural habits and in a manner that is accessible for UK African and Caribbean communities.
  • Provide a group learning environment to support behaviour change through social interaction, role-modelling and social comparison. 

There are 7 sessions over 7 weeks. Each session is 2 hours and covers a different topic, for example in one session the focus is on starchy foods and in another the focus is blood pressure. Over the 7 sessions, everything you need to know is covered in lots of detail and there are lots of opportunities to ask questions.

Programme overview:

1.         Diabetes – It’s in your hands! An introduction to diabetes self-management.

2.         Get moving! The role of physical activity in diabetes self-management.

3.         Taking control! Carbohydrate management.

4.         Shape up! The role of weight management in diabetes self-management.

5.         Drop the pressure! Cardiovascular risk management.

6.         Cook & taste. Healthy cooking practices for diabetes self-management.

7.         Plans for life: YES you can! Maintaining long-term behaviour change.

The HEAL-D programme breaks things down and build them up again in a way that we can identify with…the programme explains in detail the reason WHY, to help us understand what changes have happened in our body and how we must make little changes here and there that will make significant impact”


What are people saying?

Some of our participants share their experience of the HEAL-D programme… HEAL-D Participants: Hear the experience of the HEAL-D facilitators […]

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Take part in our research

We have a new research study starting in the summer of 2023. We will run a large study in London, […]

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Dr Louise Goff with Award


The HEAL-D team were delighted to receive this QiC award which recognises initiatives to educate and empower people with diabetes […]

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