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Type 2 prevention programme yields ‘promising’ results

By Editor
15th March 2018
Education, NHS England Type 2 diabetes Type 2 prevention

Around 66,000 people have taken part in a national type 2 diabetes prevention programme that was launched three years ago, it has been announced.

The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) is now on the verge of achieving complete national coverage and more than half of overweight people who routinely attended the sessions have achieved an average weight loss equivalent to nearly 15 double cheese burgers.

In the last 21 months of roll-out, more than 154,000 people have been referred to the flagship initiative and those who took up the opportunity of participating in the eight support sessions over a nine month period have lost on average around 3.3kgs.

When excluding those who already had normal weight and BMI, but still attended the programme due to other health and lifestyle risks associated with developing type 2 diabetes, the weight loss increased to 3.7kg.

The early findings show the programme has exceeded expectations with patients losing an average of 1kg more than originally predicted.

While it is early days, this data from several thousand people is very promising

Speaking at the Diabetes UK’s Professional Conference, NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens, said: “The NHS is already leading the way in the battle against the obesity crisis by slashing the sale of sugary drinks and super-sized snacks in hospitals, and the results now coming out of our diabetes prevention programme are also positive. Obesity is the new smoking and the scale of our response needs to match the scale of the crisis.”

Pilot digital programme

Further data about the programme has shown just under half of those signing up are men – a much higher proportion than typically attend weight loss programmes, while roughly a quarter are from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Since obesity is more prevalent among poorer communities, action to tackle it also directly reduces health inequalities.

The programme also recently launched digital support to people so more than 5,000 people are expected to benefit from a pilot project. Five companies and eight areas of the country are test driving a range of apps, gadgets, wristbands and other innovative digital products and in the first two months around 800 people have been referred and more than half of those have logged onto a service since.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England said: “While it is early days, this data from several thousand people is very promising. Not only is our prevention programme exceeding the initial targets set for referrals and equity of access, what we are now starting to see is the first set of encouraging weight loss results too.

“Type 2 diabetes is heavily linked to obesity and if those on our programme continue to lose weight, as this snapshot suggests, then it is a step in the right direction and this programme can be an effective part of the solution.”

Duncan Selbie, Public Health England’s chief executive said: “The diabetes prevention programme is working, and alongside other public health interventions like sugar reduction it will help to turn the tide on obesity. Diabetes is one of the key preventable illnesses, every year 22,000 people die early because of type 2.

“Joined up action by NHS England, Diabetes UK and Public Health England on the prevention programme is putting people in control of their health with tools and information they need to make small lifestyle changes that significantly reduce their risk of the disease.”

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