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Diabetes prevention programme to be extended to 200,000 people a year

Programme offers advice on dieting, exercise and healthy lifestyle

The NHS is planning to extend its diabetes prevention programme to treat around 200,000 people a year.

So far, 89,604 people have finished the programme, which offers advice on dieting, exercise and healthy lifestyle.

Around four million people in the UK live with type 2 diabetes. The condition and its complications cost the NHS more than £10bn every year.

Complications from the disease can include blindness and foot amputations.

Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have type 2 and there were over a million obesity diagnoses in hospital patients last year.

Projections show that the growing number of people with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke.

A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors for developing the disease.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, said helping people to avoid diabetes is potentially life-saving, but ultimately the NHS cannot win the fight against obesity alone.

The nine to 12 month programme is designed to stop or delay the onset of the illness through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions, including education on lifestyle choices, advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating and bespoke physical activity programmes.

Helen Dickens, assistant director of policy and campaigns at Diabetes UK, said: “As obesity accounts for 80 to 85% of your risk of type 2 diabetes – programmes such as these are key to helping people prevent or delay the onset of the condition.”