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NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme linked to lower numbers of people developing type 2 diabetes


People with prediabetes who are referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme are 20% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to people with prediabetes who were not offered this support, new research shows.

Around 17 million people could be at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 2030, without urgent government intervention. And these new research findings reveal the impact that the Diabetes Prevention Programme can have in preventing type 2 diabetes.

What is the Diabetes Prevention Programme? 

The NHS Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme is offered to adults in England who are at high risk of type 2 diabetes. The programme is run by NHS England, in partnership with Diabetes UK.  

Over 1.2 million people have been offered support on the programme, which includes personalised lifestyle changes to enable weight loss and increase physical activity.  

What the study found 

This observational study examined whether people who were referred to the programme were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the following three years, compared to people with prediabetes who weren’t offered this support. 

The researchers identified over 700,000 people with prediabetes across more than 2,000 GP practices across England. 

The study team compared 18,470 of those who were and 51,331 of those weren’t referred to the programme and found the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 20% lower in the referral group. 

In other words, for every 1,000 people referred to the Diabetes Prevention Programme, the researchers would expect 127 people to go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 3 years. But for every 1,000 people not referred, the researchers would expect the number to be 154.

A real turning point 

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.”  

Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, added:

“The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing year-on-year, so it has never been more vital to have effective support available for people at risk of this serious, potentially devastating condition. 

“We’re greatly encouraged by the results of this research, as the findings add to evidence showing many cases of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented with the right support. It’s clear the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme can be a real turning point for people.” 

You can find out your risk of type 2 diabetes by completing our free, online Diabetes UK ‘Know Your Risk’ tool. 

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