Nudging healthy behaviours

Highlights of the 24th Spring Scientific Meeting of PsychoSocial Aspects of Diabetes (PSAD) Study Group of the EASD (Malaga, Spain: 25-27 April 2019)

By Dr Amelia Lake and Prof Jane Speight

The PSAD Study Group is an official study group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) with over 200 members. This year’s annual Spring Scientific meeting was held in the historic city of Malaga, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. It was attended by 41 delegates from 9 countries and, as usual, offered a wonderful opportunity to hear about the latest research, and get to know other researchers, in our field.

One of the most rewarding aspects of attending any conference are the unexpected learnings and experiences that come with it. In this regard, this year’s Anita Carlson Lecture: ‘Upstream determinants of obesity and [type 2] diabetes’ by Dr Jeroen Lakerveld (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam) was a standout. Taking us on a tour of the environmental determinants of behaviour and public health from preconception to end of life, Dr Lakerveld’s presentation covered novel behaviour shaping initiatives, such as ‘nudging’ (who knew that a fly sticker in urinals can ‘nudge’ men to improve their aim?) and introduced the audience to the influence of the ‘exposome’ on public health. Defined as “the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposure relate to health”, exposome is an important concept because it includes exposure to environmental factors before birth as well as during the life course. This is being recognised as increasingly important in relation to gestational diabetes.

The PSAD conference includes a combination of completed work and ‘work in progress’. The latter is particularly interesting as the PSAD is one of the few fora at which researchers can receive feedback from their peers about how to progress their work before it is finalised. The presentations during this year’s conference were varied, organised into 6 themed sessions. In keeping with the theme of the Anita Carlson Lecture, the first theme was ‘lifestyle’ and was followed by a lively debate about the usefulness of ‘nudging’. The other five sessions focused on: experiences in the diabetes consultation; support; diabetes distress; psychological aspects of glucose regulation; and depression. Representing the ACBRD, Dr Christel Hendrieckx presented completed work: ‘I wish my health professionals understood that its not just all aboujt your HbA1c!’ Qualitative responses from the second Diabetes MILES-Australia study. Dr Amelia Lake presented ‘work in progress’ on behalf of the GP-OSMOTIC study: ‘It has kicked me into being proactive, not reactive’: A qualitative exploration of retrospective continuous monitoring for adults living with type 2 diabetes’. There were also breakout meetings for three PSAD working groups: depression; diabetes in children, adolescents and emerging adults; and patient-reported outcomes.

In a key highlight for the ACBRD, Dr Amelia Lake received the 2019 PSAD Science Award (sponsored by Prof Kath Barnard) for her published peer-reviewed paper: A tailored intervention to promote uptake of retinal screening among young adults with type 2 diabetes – an intervention mapping approach. This paper was co-authored by colleagues from the ACBRD, University of Melbourne, Diabetes Victoria, the Centre for Eye Research Australia and Vision 2020 Australia. The judging committee commented that the paper was “well-written, clinically relevant, and used state-of-the-science methodology…(providing) an exemplary model of how to conduct parallel projects, which enhances their potential impact on the field beyond the specific findings.” Amelia delivered an award presentation to the PSAD conference attendees on 26 April.

Next year, the PSAD will be celebrating its 25th year as an official Study Group of the EASD. We look forward to attending and celebrating this milestone with our colleagues. Venue and dates to be announced in due course.

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