As a new cricket and rugby league season prepares to launch, the NHS in West Yorkshire is working with local clubs – including Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) to encourage supporters to ‘Find Out How You Really Are’.
The new initiative encourages people to take steps to understand and reduce their risk of developing diabetes or experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
It’s estimated that approximately 300,000 people across the region are unaware that they have high blood pressure. Persistent high blood pressure can increase the risk of several serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, including stroke.
Beyond the 300,000 people already diagnosed, it’s estimated that 300,000 more have it without knowing. In addition, 160,000 people in West Yorkshire have type 2 diabetes, and it’s estimated that 41,000 more have it but haven’t been diagnosed. People from Black African, African Caribbean and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) backgrounds are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and from a younger age.
To help address this, NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) has worked with YCCC, alongside Bradford Bulls, Castleford Tigers, Halifax Panthers, Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos on a campaign that aims to increase the awareness of the risk factors for health conditions including diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Behind it are several local and national organisations including Diabetes UK, Stroke Association, Pumping Marvellous and Get Set Goal at the University of Huddersfield.
As part of the campaign, fans will be offered health screens, including blood pressure and pulse checks, at several fixtures over the coming season. They’ll also be given information about how to check their risk of diabetes. People can find out more and assess their risk on the campaign website: www.findouthowyoureallyare.co.uk.
In West Yorkshire we can potentially prevent 238 heart attacks and 227 strokes in men aged 50 and 568 heart attacks and 310 strokes in women aged 50 years by diagnosing and treating their blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle can offer real health benefits and can help to reduce blood pressure.
YCCC star and all-rounder Jordan Thompson is endorsing the campaign. Jordan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 16, and has previously opened up about living with the condition, is a Diabetes UK Ambassador and is keen to raise awareness and use his sports profile to help people.
Jordan said: “This campaign is important because of my own type 1 diagnosis, but also to make people aware of the potential risks if these conditions go unnoticed.
I take great care to look after my diabetes so that it doesn’t hinder my cricket career and day-to-day life, and it is important for people to know that even the healthiest of people can suffer from the above illnesses.
“The Yorkshire Family will be doing all we can to actively encourage fans to get involved with everything that ‘Find Out How You Really Are’ has to offer. This might just be the first step for many to help them to stay healthy and have a healthy future.”
Prominent promotional signage will be visible across the grounds and on the clubs’ social media platforms to reach their large followings of local people.
Two sports fans, Sophie and Harjit from Huddersfield feature in publicity for the campaign. Just four years ago, Harjit 54, who has type 2 diabetes, suffered a sudden heart attack and is keen to help raise awareness and promote common risk factors that could help others to avoid a similar experience.
Harjit said: “I welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the ‘Find Out How You Really Are’ campaign to help highlight the importance of potential risk factors for long term health conditions and help people to take greater control of their health. Ethnicity and family history also add to your risk factors for certain diseases and it’s important to be aware of this. Sport brings people together and has the potential to help people which I think is something we all should get behind.”
Rachel Forbes, Acting Consultant in Public Health for the Improving Population Health Team at West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said: “Partnering with a host of organisations and joining forces with some of the region’s biggest sporting clubs provides a real opportunity for us to reach local people who are at a greater risk of developing long-term conditions such as diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. As a Partnership we are committed to increasing the years of life that people live in good health and thank the clubs for backing this initiative and encouraging people to visit: findouthowyoureallyare.co.uk”
Laura Kirk Commercial Director from Castleford Tigers said: “We’re keen to encourage our many loyal fans, followers and the public to get involved and to find out how you really are. It’s vital for sports clubs to support and take part in health and wellbeing initiatives that help people become more aware of their health and to be able to access the support they need”