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Reducing Obesity and Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

There is no cure for diabetes. The good news is that 3 in 5 cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. 

Diabetes UK is supporting people across the UK to find out their risk and take action. But this problem is too big to tackle alone, which is why we campaign for broad changes that make it easier for individuals to make healthy choices every day.

Raising awareness: Know Your Risk

Type 2 diabetes is still widely misunderstood. 

Many people are not aware of the causes of Type 2 diabetes or their risk of developing it. In fact, 11.9 million people in the UK are at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. This is why it’s so important for people across the UK to find out their risk. The Know Your Risk tool developed by University of Leicester and Diabetes UK helps people to find out their risk and take action. 

In 2015, our Know Your Risk volunteers helped over 15,000 people find out their risk of Type 2 diabetes at one of our events, while our online tool was used over 240,000 times. To date, over 1 million people have discovered their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and how they can do something about it.

Taking action: Reduce your risk

We support people to make changes that could reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes UK is working to ensure that there is more support for people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes to take action. In England, the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – a partnership between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK – will support thousands to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes, leading to a delayed diagnosis or prevent it altogether. We will encourage the implementation of similar schemes across the UK.

We also help people take action on their risk through our partnership with the British Heart Foundation and Tesco. 2015 saw the start of a three-year National Charity Partnership with Tesco and the British Heart Foundation. Our Let’s Do This campaign encourages families to have fun while making small changes to what they eat and to how active they are through our Beat the Street initiative, community programmes and our online goal-setting tool. In its first year, more than 22,000 East Londoners clocked up 103,000 miles by walking, running or cycling for Beat the Street, an initiative designed to encourage people to get active.

Creating a healthier environment

We want to create a society where the healthy choice is the easier choice.

Diabetes UK campaigns across the UK, at the local and national level, for a comprehensive plan to tackle obesity and the rise of Type 2 diabetes. This includes calling for changes to the food we eat to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fat; limiting the marketing of junk food to children; and the implementation of the levy on the sugary drinks industry in 2018.

Find out more about our policy work to make this a reality.

We won’t be doing this alone. We campaign alongside the Obesity Health Alliance, of which Diabetes UK is steering group member.


Research underpins all aspects of what we do to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK is already working with NHS England to put evidence into action with the first ever National NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme for Type 2 diabetes. We were a founding partner of the National Prevention Research Initiative, established to reduce the impact of chronic health conditions including diabetes.