In 2021, 4.1 million people in the UK had a diagnosis of diabetes; 90% had type 2. This is an increase of more than 150,000 since 2020. A further 1 million people have no diagnosis but could also have type 2 diabetes. An estimated 13.6 million people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, up to half of these people could prevent or delay diabetes through lifestyle changes such as sustained weight loss and physical activity.
This NIHR Collection brings together messages from research highlighted in accessible summaries and illustrates how taking account of individuals’ needs, differences and wishes could improve diabetes services.
In addition, the report looked at ways to increase participation in type 2 diabetes prevention programmes.
Diabetes prevention programmes can reduce the risk of developing the condition, but engaging people is challenging – as reports show that many people never start the course, or do not complete it.
Programmes are for people with prediabetes. This means their blood sugar is above target range, but not at the threshold for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The aim of the programmes is to promote healthy eating, a physically active lifestyle and weight loss.
The NIHR is carrying out an independent assessment of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme for England, ‘Healthier You’. Signs were encouraging that people who completed the programme reduced the amount of sugar in their blood and lose weight.
Also examined is how diabetes prevention could be guided by people’s ethnic group.
For example, body weight is closely linked to the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, but has different effects on different groups of people. However, while NICE guidance currently recommends action to prevent type 2 diabetes for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30, in Black African, African-Caribbean, South Asian and Chinese groups, prevention should start at a BMI of 27.5.
The NIHR briefing concluded: “We hope it provides useful information both for those commissioning and delivering services, and for members of the public.”
Read the National Institute for Health and Care Research briefing
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