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Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week 2023: Men under 40 urged to understand their type 2 diabetes risk

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For Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week (22-28 May 2023), we are encouraging younger men to take a free and simple test to understand their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Men under 40 are most likely to be spurred into action to improve their health by a health scare, or if a healthcare professional such as a GP said they needed to, according to new research commissioned in partnership with Tesco. 

We are therefore encouraging the uptake of a free type 2 diabetes risk assessment, Know Your Risk, in men under 40, to understand their risk and not wait for symptoms to appear.  

The warning signs of developing type 2 diabetes may not be obvious and increasing numbers of people aged 40 now live with type 2 diabetes. Our research estimates that the number of men aged under 40 living with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes could hit 200,000 by 2027. In comparison, in 2019, 57,400 men aged between 26-39 had been diagnosed.  

This Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week 2023 we want younger men to understand how vital it is to know their risk. You can check your risk score for free online or visit any of the 370 Tesco pharmacies across the UK. 

Alongside Tesco, we launched the Know Your Risk tool in Tesco pharmacies and online in November 2022, but our data shows that half as many men have completed it as women. 

Anyone who completes an assessment will be directed to free advice and information on the help and support available to manage their risk. 

Understanding the risk of type 2 diabetes 

Eating more portions of fruit and vegetables and moving more are just two of the ways to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Yet in our survey of 2,000 men, 82% of respondents were eating on average less than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and 86% were getting under 150 minutes of exercise a week, falling short of recommended healthy levels.  

As part of its commitment to help customers make healthier food choices, Tesco has also produced a series of healthy and budget-friendly recipes for Prevention Week, approved by us, which are available through the Tesco Real Food website. 

White men are more at risk of type 2 diabetes if they’re over 40, but just one in seven (14%) of men under 40 surveyed were aware of this. For people from African-Caribbean, Black African, Chinese or South Asian backgrounds, this risk increases at a far younger age – from age 25 – yet only one in 10 (11%) of men surveyed knew this. 

While type 2 diabetes is often stigmatised as a condition that people bring on themselves, the risk factors are multiple and complex, and include family history and ethnicity, as well as living with obesity or overweight, among other factors. 

Social deprivation is also an issue. Factors such as income, education, housing, access to healthy food, as well as poorer access to healthcare, have been shown to be strongly linked to an increased risk of developing several health conditions – including obesity and type 2 diabetes. As a result, people who are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes are all-too-often less likely to be able to benefit from support to manage it. 

Type 2 diabetes has until recently been quite rare in those aged under 40, so many people – including healthcare professionals – don’t always recognise the symptoms.  

Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said:  

“While developing type 2 diabetes isn’t looming large on the minds of most young men, we’re seeing increased numbers of men in this age group developing this serious and life-altering condition. Managing your weight, eating healthily and doing more physical activity can all contribute to reducing your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and starting those habits at a younger age can set you up on a healthy path for later life, when we really see people’s risk increase.  

“Understanding the risk factors of type 2 diabetes, and your own personal risk based on your family history, ethnicity and general health is so important. Getting a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is life-changing. Younger men have the chance now to make changes that could reduce their risk of developing the condition, and know how to help keep it at bay.” 

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