Topfit CitizenLab – Grip on Diabetes

Bison code: L.28301 (for GT: L.28302)

Diabetes mellitus type 2 (DMT2) is one of the most common chronic diseases in the Netherlands, with a huge impact on quality of life, healthcare consumption and related healthcare costs. The number of people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes will increase in the coming years. Of the adult Dutch population aged 45 years and older, 1 in 3 is expected to develop DMT2 in the future.

Lifestyle plays a major role in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. So too with (prevention of) DMT2. A healthy lifestyle can prevent and reverse DMT2, for example by eating more healthily and exercising more. Obesity is an important risk factor. The group of people with a lower socio-economic status* deserves extra attention. The percentage of people with serious overweight will increase more among people with a low socio-economic status until 2040. People with a lower socio-economic status can have an increased risk of diabetes.

*Social economic status (SES) is related to education, income and position in the labour market.

More and more digital tools (or eHealth applications) are becoming available, which give people insight into their own lifestyle and allow them to receive personalised coaching remotely. These include apps that allow you to keep track of your movements or nutrition, such as Runkeeper, Fitbit or the platform ‘Je leefstijl als medicijn’. There are also apps developed specifically for people with diabetes, such as MySugr or MiGuide. All these digital tools can support people with (or at risk of) DMT2 with their health. Despite the wide range of digital tools available, they are only used to a limited extent by people with DMT2, especially within the group of people with lower SES.

So there is a broad supply of digital tools, but their use among people with DMT2 is limited. Not surprisingly, because how should one choose in this forest of digital tools and what suits whom? Lack of clear information and education for specific target groups (including people with low SES), is one of the reasons why people do not find their way to eHealth.

It is up to you to reach out to people with low SES and explore with them the opportunities that digital tools can offer in promoting health and/or supporting living with diabetes. With the aim to get more grip on their lifestyle.

The aim is that together with the target group, you develop appropriate information/communication tools to inform people about type 2 diabetes, importance of a healthy lifestyle and the availability of digital tools to support their lifestyle.


– You actively search for people with diabetes who are low SES

– It is up to the target group to develop information/communication tools

– Students research, organise, supervise and facilitate (important questions are: how do you reach this group, which medium do they often use, how do you do the research together).

This Smart Solutions assignment is part of the TOPFIT CitizenLab Grip on Diabetes

In this project, citizens, healthcare professionals, scientists, companies and students work on the development and deployment of technological innovations for healthcare and health.

At the moment, the first group of Smart Solutions students is working on this issue, and you will continue as a group with specific attention for people with a low Social Economic Status. Are you up to the challenge?

Cluster: Design for Health & Wellbeing 1

This project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):