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Number of people diagnosed with diabetes reaches three million

Monday 04 March 2013

The number of people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time, equivalent to 4.6 per cent of the UK’s population, according to new analysis carried out by Diabetes UK and Tesco.

The figure represents an increase of 132,000 people diagnosed with diabetes over the last year. A further 850,000 people are thought to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

Ugent action required

Experts have warned that unless more is done to prevent Type 2 diabetes and more help is given to help those with the condition, the increase could see the NHS burdened with unsustainable costs, which has huge implications for public health.

Every year in England and Wales, 24,000 people with diabetes die earlier than expected, a situation that is expected to get even worse without urgent action.

National Charity Partnership

Tesco and Diabetes UK have announced the new figures to mark the launch of a major new national partnership that will see Tesco, its customers, colleagues and suppliers aim to raise £10 million, the biggest donation ever pledged to the charity, to help create a healthier future for people affected by diabetes or at risk of developing it.

The partnership will also fund the biggest-ever public awareness campaign on Type 2 diabetes risk factors, aiming to reach the estimated seven million people at high risk.

"Public health emergency"

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said, "We are hugely concerned that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time. There is no reason to think this will mark the end of what has been a rapid rise in the condition.

"Instead, all the projections suggest that the three million figure will be a grim staging post on the road towards a public health emergency. This unfolding tragedy is already putting huge pressure on the NHS and will have potentially devastating consequences for those people who develop the condition. But this is not inevitable.

"By identifying those at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, we can ensure they start getting support to make the kind of lifestyle changes that can help prevent it. And by making sure people who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are already getting the care and support they need, we can help them avoid the devastating complications diabetes can cause.

"I’m delighted Tesco has made Diabetes UK its National Charity Partner, as this will make a real difference in curbing the rise in the condition. Not only will the partnership fund the biggest-ever public health campaign on risk factors and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, but, crucially, it will be funding pioneering research into a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes."

Help for the millions of people with diabetes in the UK

Rebecca Shelley, Group Corporate Affairs Director at Tesco, said, "Diabetes affects millions of families and communities across the UK and, as today’s news confirms, the number of people with this condition is increasing.

"Thanks to this important partnership, we have the opportunity to inspire our colleagues and customers to come together and raise awareness and much needed funds to help the millions of people with diabetes in the UK.

"From helping our customers take action to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes through our network of pharmacies, to investing in groundbreaking research, we’ll be using our scale to support everyone affected by, and at risk of diabetes."

Partnership initiatives

Funds raised by the partnership will help fund the following initiatives:

  • Pioneering research into a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes, offering real hope for thousands of children and adults across the globe for a future without this type of the condition.
  • The partnership will also fund the biggest ever public awareness campaign on Type 2 diabetes risk factors aiming to reach the estimated seven million people at high risk.
  • Through risk assessments available to customers in our pharmacies, we will help to identify some of the 850,000 people who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

The partnership aims to provide information and advice to almost a million people with Type 2 diabetes, and will also fund a series of Living with Diabetes Days around the UK that will help people newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes understand how to best manage their condition.

Risk assessments

To find out if you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes, use our simple online risk score test, or visit a Tesco Pharmacy for a free five minute assessment. To find your nearst Tesco Pharmacy, go to tesco.com/storelocator or call 0800 505 555.

Living with Diabetes Days

If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the last few years and want to know more about how to live well with the condition, please register your interest in attending a Living with Diabetes Day.