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People finishing the world leading NHS diabetes prevention programme in the East of England region have lost the equivalent weight of seven ambulances.
Nationally, 89,604 people have now finished the programme, losing a combined weight of 185,051kg – which is equivalent to 43 ambulances.
As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the evidence-based lifestyle change programme will double in size over the next few years to support around 200,000 people per year. It is designed for people with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (the term given to having blood test results showing a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes).
Nine out of 10 people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This is around four million people in the UK. Treating diabetes and its complications costs the NHS more than £10 billion per year.
Complications from the disease can include blindness, amputations, kidney disease and a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Projections show that, if current trends continue, one in 10 people will have type 2 diabetes by 2035. An unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and being overweight are all risk factors for developing the condition.
Jonathan Valabhji, NHS National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes 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 prevent as part of our NHS Long Term Plan.
“Helping people avoid diabetes is potentially life-saving, so these results are encouraging, but ultimately the NHS cannot win the fight against obesity alone, which is why we are providing people with the tools to help themselves – changing lives and freeing up vital NHS resources.”
Dr Chirag Bakhai, Primary Care Lead for the East of England Diabetes Clinical Network said:
“The number of people with type 2 diabetes has more than doubled in the past 20 years due to increasing levels of excess body weight and unhealthy lifestyles. However, type 2 diabetes, along with the potentially life-changing complications which may accompany it, can be prevented.
“The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is the first in the world with nationwide coverage, aimed at helping people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes make lasting lifestyle changes. The 9-12 month programme provides personalised support with healthy eating, getting physically active and achieving a healthy weight, all of which can prevent type 2 diabetes.”
The success of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme builds on wider measures to improve the treatment and care of diabetes in the NHS Long Term Plan.