People at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes should be given diet and exercise counselling to help prevent or delay diabetes onset.
Research in Finland has previously showed that after four years of counselling, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by 58 per cent.
A follow-up to this study has now shown that three years after the counselling stopped, the risk of devoping diabetes was still reduced by 38 per cent.
"This further confirms the importance of lifestyle interventions in reversing the Type 2 diabetes epidemic," said Jemma Edwards, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.
"It clearly shows the prolonged benefits that physical activity and an improved diet can bring, especially to those most at risk.
"The government should look to build on schemes based around these principles. This will then help people delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes and its devastating complications, including heart disease, strokes, blindness, kidney damage and amputations."