Diabetes Prevention Decathlon


What is the Prevention Decathlon?


The Prevention Decathlon is a set of structured education programmes designed to help people avoid being diagnosed with preventable long-term conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The first Prevention Decathlon developed is the Diabetes Prevention Decathlon (DPD), which is a 10-week programme that includes holistic wellbeing information as well as physical activity sessions and can be delivered as a face-to-face or virtual offering.

Decathletes attend weekly, and within their teams collaborate to discover how to best reduce their risks; through theory sessions, games, discussion as well as having a 45-minute physical activity session that includes a variety of sports.

Competing in teams, Decathletes are motivated to increase their activity levels in between sessions to win “Sweatcoins” which they can redeem in exchange for prizes.  Sweatcoins are also ‘earnt’ by watching recap videos and participating in weekly quizzes.

Each week participants are also signposted to relevant local initiatives and activities.

The Prevention Decathlon is a partnership collaboration between South West London Health and Care Partnership, Sweatcoin, Harlequins Foundation and the Health Innovation Network.

We are passionate about Prevention. We want our Decathletes to keep coming back and eventually graduate from the programme with an improved long-term health outlook. We will achieve this by: providing a relaxed and supportive environment; delivering high quality, relevant and easy to understand information; focusing on teamwork and peer support; and ensuring there is an injection of fun & innovation.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn” by Benjamin Franklin

Education component highlights - Click to expand

10 sessions of health and wellbeing information facilitated by a Diabetes specialist Dietitian that included sessions on:

  • What is Non Diabetic Hyperglycaemia (NDH) and the risk factors
  • Eating well to stay well – optimum nutrition.
  • Understand and applying energy balance concepts
  • Fantastic fibre and the gut microbiome
  • Mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing
  • Self-care and self-compassion
  • Physical activity guidance and how to make exercise an everyday occurrence
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers
  • Action planning and peer support

Physical activity  highlights and core aims

10 sessions of varied and fun activity sessions facilitated by Harlequins foundation sports facilitator that included:

  • Badminton
  • Rugby
  • Yoga
  • Football
  • Zumba
  • Basketball
  • Circuit training

Core aims and objectives for physical activity sessions:

  • Get people more active
  • Encourage movement in daily life
  • Breakdown fears/Barriers to physical activity
  • Shows there are many ways to be physically active

Innovation in action

Decathletes have access to a tailored version of the ‘Sweatcoin app” with offers users the chance to be incentivised by increasing activity levels. Steps are converted into sweat coins and are redeemable against real world products such as:

  • Blood pressure machine
  • Weighing scales
  • Carbs and Cals world food book
  • Water bottles
  • Resistance bands
  • Yoga mats

The Sweatcoin app also hosts regular weekly quizzes, recap educational videos and team leader boards for each cohort. Charitable donations can also be made to verified local charities.


Download (PDF, 243KB)


Results of surveying the participants showed that:

  • 100% of participants would recommend the programme to others

When asked what kept patients attending the programme results were: 

Decathlete feedback

  • “The enthusiasm, commitment and inspiration of the training team was excellent and one of the things that made me want to continue coming and to succeed”
  • “It’s a very good and motivating program for people who want to prevent their risk of diabetes”
  • “The warmth and welcoming atmosphere of the team. Their enthusiasm to assist if and when needed. Their encouragement and patience. I have met some wonderful people”
  • “Only to say a worthwhile experience and to jump at the opportunity if offered”
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed the activity sessions of exercises and the playing of basketball, football skills and tennis”
  • “Chris and all the tutors were very encouraging, they put you at ease. They wanted you to succeed and took time to answer your concerns. I really miss the group”
  • “I have thorough enjoyed the programme and how it has helped me to regulate my diet and the walking has kept me fit. I would certainly recommend that other people join it”

Programme communications

What's next?

The Prevention Decathlon is currently developing its second prevention programme; The CVD Prevention Decathlon (CPD) which looks to gain further evidence of the programmes efficacy.

Working with the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN) to create bespoke health and well being course to be delivered locally


Award Nomination

The Diabetes Prevention Decathlon has been shortlisted for the HSJ Value award 2021  ‘Diabetes Care Initiative of the Year’.

Download (PDF, 543KB)

Publications & Abstracts

Diabetes UK conference 2021 abstract poster: Presenting author: C Gumble
Poster category: Clinical care and other categories posters: Education and self-management

Download (PDF, 241KB)


Partners & Notable mentions


South West London Health and Care Partnership

Harlequins Foundation: https://www.harlequins.foundation/

Sweatcoin: https://sweatco.in/

The Health Innovation Network: https://healthinnovationnetwork.com/

Notable mentions

Chris Gumble: Decathlon creator

Grace Neal: Education Content creator

Nicola Clarke: Decathlon facilitator

Hollie Smith: Physical activity facilitator

Shaun Azam & Jessica Penny: Sweatcoin

Paul Wilson & Marc Leckie: Harlequins Foundation

Jonathan Allain, Alicia Gallagher, Thomas Herweijer, Jayne Thorpe: SWL Long term conditions team

June Pilgrim-Ndure & Team at Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network: https://wcen.co.uk/

Public Health Merton: https://www.merton.gov.uk/healthy-living/publichealth

Public Health Behavioural insights team: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/behavioural-insights-public-health

Salma Mehar: Inequalities and Ethnicity specialist

Carbs and Cals: Resources for Decathlon



For more information, please contact Chris.Gumble@swlondon.nhs.uk