The NHS has stopped thousands of people from getting type 2 diabetes, thanks to the world leading NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, new research shows today.
Analysis by University of Manchester researchers shows the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was one fifth lower in people with raised blood sugars referred to the programme, compared to people not receiving NHS support.
The programme has been offered to adults in England who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes as part of radical action by to tackle rising obesity rates and to prevent people from developing the condition.
Latest data shows that over 1.2 million people have been offered support through the programme, with personalised lifestyle changes including better quality nutrition, weight loss, and increased physical activity.
Today’s research builds on previous analysis, which found the programme scheme resulted in a 7% reduction in the number of new diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes in England between 2018 and 2019, with around 18,000 people saved the consequences of the condition.
Developing type 2 diabetes can have a devastating impact on people and their families – it is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, amputation, heart attack, stroke and many of the common types of cancer.
NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, said: “This important study is further evidence that the NHS is preventing type 2 diabetes and helping hundreds of thousands of people across England to lead healthier lives.
“Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem with millions of people affected and not only is it linked to kidney failure, amputation, heart attack, stroke and many of the common types of cancer, it also adds pressure to NHS services.
“So doing nothing is not an option for the NHS and so it is fantastic that our world first programme has offered well over one million people support and empowered them to lead healthier lives and prevent type 2 diabetes.
“You can easily check your own risk through the Diabetes UK ‘Know Your Risk’ tool and come forward for support.”
Previous estimates suggest that the number of people in the UK with diabetes could rise to 5.5 million people by 2030, affecting almost 9% of the population.
Hugh Orridge, 54 years-old, from Luton recently completed the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, and said: “My favourite thing about the Healthier You programme was the camaraderie between all of the participants – we all had a set of shared goals and experiences.
“Thanks to the things I have learnt since joining the programme, I’ve cut down on sugar and salt and do lots more walking. My wife lives with type 2 diabetes and her and the rest of my family have been positively impacted by the changes I’ve made too.
“The programme has helped me lower my blood pressure which is now in the ‘ideal’ range – before I joined, my blood pressure was 140! I’ve also lost six inches off my waist. I am also sleeping better, get to enjoy more time with my family and I am much calmer and find that I deal with situations much better.
“The Healthier You programme is suitable for people from a diverse range of backgrounds. I would recommend it to anyone!”
NHS diabetes experts believe that combined advice on healthy eating and exercise can prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes, so potentially avoiding the need for medication and developments of complications such as amputations.
Professor Evangelos Kontopantelis from The University Manchester said: “Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern which has been rising globally, with over 3 million people in the UK currently diagnosed with it.
“Previous studies have shown that both lifestyle modifications through diet and physical activity and medication can prevent progression to this condition.
”This study is good news for the Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme which we show beyond doubt is a powerful way to protect your health.”
More information on the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is available via the NHS England website.