Type 2 diabetes risk cut by 20 per cent thanks to NHS programme

By Editor
27th March 2023
NHS, Research Type 2 diabetes

People with high blood sugar levels are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they attend an NHS behaviour-change programme.

New NIHR-funded research has found that people referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) were up to 20 per cent less at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Data from more than 2,000 GP practices was examined by researchers from the University of Manchester.

They compared 18,470 people with pre-diabetes taking part in the NDPP, with 51,331 individuals not referred to the programme.

Their analysis showed the chance of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after 36 months was 12.7 per cent for those referred to the NDPP. For those not referred, it was 15.4 per cent.

The NHS Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme in England launched in 2018. It is offered to adults without diabetes who have raised blood sugars, or pre-diabetes. It provides exercise and dietary advice to help reduce people’s risk of developing the disease.

On average, NDPP participants lost 2.3kg, which researchers believe was the most likely cause for the reduction.

Most of the previous trial results have shown that weight loss is a key factor in reducing risk of the disease.

Professor Evangelos Kontopantelis from The University Manchester said: “Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern which has been rising globally, with over 3 million people in the UK currently diagnosed with it.

“Previous studies have shown that both lifestyle modifications through diet and physical activity and medication can prevent progression to this condition.”

Professor Kontopantelis added: “This study is good news for the Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme which we show beyond doubt is a powerful way to protect your health.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has seen promising results with a 20 per cent reduction of risk to those taking part developing type 2 diabetes, empowering people suffering with pre-diabetes to take control of their own health.

“Type 2 diabetes costs the NHS around £10 billion a year, but this evidence-based programme is an example of how we can help people make lifestyle changes to prevent the disease progressing, whilst ensuring value for the taxpayer.”

The study can be accessed in the journal PLoS Medicine.

For more information on the study, visit the NIHR website.

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