Patients on NHS type 2 diabetes prevention programme lose almost 60,000kg between them

Patients who have completed the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP) have lost almost 60,000kg between them.

New figures show that the 17,000 people who attended most of the healthy living sessions lost an average of 3.4kg, over one kilogram more than originally predicted and a total of 59,000kg.

The programme, which gives advice on dieting, exercise and healthy lifestyle, is being doubled in size over the next few years to treat around 200,000 people annually as part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s renewed focus on prevention.

From July, online versions of the DPP, which involve wearable technologies and apps to help those at risk of Type 2 Diabetes, will be provided for patients who find it difficult to attend sessions because of work or family commitments.

Diabetes and its complications cost over £10 billion every year to treat and one in six patients in hospital has diabetes. Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2, which is closely linked to obesity, and there is strong evidence that in many it is preventable.

A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors for developing the disease. The programme is designed to stop or delay onset of Type 2 diabetes through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions, including:

  • education on lifestyle choices
  • advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating
  • bespoke physical activity programmes

Several providers have been appointed to scale up and roll out the service, as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. They are: Reed Momenta, ICS Health and Wellbeing, WW (formerly Weight Watchers), Ingeus, and Living Well Taking Control.

The providers for the online programme are OurPath, Oviva, WW (formerly Weight Watchers), Changing Health and Liva Healthcare.

Recent projections show that the growing number of people with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England national clinical director of diabetes and obesity said: “Around two thirds of adults and one third of children are now overweight or obese, driving higher and higher rates of Type 2 diabetes that we are now focusing huge efforts to address, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

“I’m delighted that our work so far in this area has been producing really positive results. This weight loss is promising – and we hope to help many more of those who are at risk of Type 2 diabetes to not get it in the first place.”

Harry Matharu was diagnosed by his GP as being pre-diabetic and borderline obese when he was 56. Harry decided to take action, to review his sedentary and slow-paced lifestyle, and lost over 3 stone after being referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Harry said: “The prevention programme has changed my life. Since I started it, I’ve gone through at least three different clothing sizes and from a waist 42 to a 28. Above and beyond the weight loss – I’m healthier and I’m happier. I’m 56 now and my next big goal is to get a six-pack by 60.”

Pav Kalsi, senior clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “With 12.3 million people at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in the UK, the importance of the NHS England’s Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme cannot be overstated. These figures show the programme is making a real difference to the lives of people at risk of the condition, and is helping them lose weight to minimise their risk.”

Duncan Selbie, chief executive at Public Health England said: “This is a great start, but with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and 6 in 10 people overweight or obese the costs to the NHS are unsustainable. That is why we are doubling the size of the programme to help prevent more people from getting this deadly disease”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “This is hard proof that we can help people with diabetes change their lives by arming them with information and, in the coming months, cutting edge tech. It’s why the Long Term Plan for the NHS – backed by an extra £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24 – has prevention at its heart, so we can help more people live longer and healthier lives.”