U turn - LAST chance
U-TURN is a TV project which ran over six months from mid-April 2012 to the end of October 2012. In the project we follow eight selected Danes with lifestyle-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stress and lifestyle-related depression as well as metabolic syndrome. The programs premiered on 18 April 2013 on DR1.
Lifestyle as treatment
The purpose of the experiment was to investigate whether lifestyle can be seen as treatment, and including whether lifestyle can reduce or completely eliminate the eight participants' need for medication. Medicine is good and in some cases is vital, but "pills without skills" is not a sustainable solution.
Before the U-TURN experiment started, Chris MacDonald visited experts in the USA to get their experience and knowledge about the effect of lifestyle as a treatment. Furthermore, Chris MacDonald went to Africa to investigate whether their hunter/gatherer lifestyle can teach us something about what we humans are built for.
All with the aim of giving the eight participants the best possible tools to create a U-turn in their lives. Chris MacDonald's intervention is based on a gradual implementation of daily physical activity, structured training, healthy food, sleep and continuous mental coaching.
GR10 – from coast to coast
Halfway through the project, the participants set off on a longer hike – the so-called GR10. It is a route that stretches from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean over the French Pyrenees. A route of approx. 850 km and a lot of altitude must be climbed along the way. GR10 was an important part of the whole intervention, with the primary and ultimate aim to see what happens if you take eight people out of their normal everyday life and ask them to walk every day, eat healthy food and minimize negative stress. Completing the entire trip is the last priority. The safety of the participants was the number one priority throughout the trip.
The participants' state of health and medication were monitored and regulated exclusively by a team of doctors from Gentofte Hospital on the basis of very thorough examinations during the entire experiment. Likewise, the University of Copenhagen, Department of Sports (Group for Molecular Physiology) tested the participants' fitness levels, and last but not least, the participants had their sleep tested on Scansleep.
U-TURN is a collaboration between DR, Doceye (production company), Gentofte Hospital and Chris MacDonald with support from TrygFonden.