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NHS type 2 Diabetes Prevention Programme exceeds expectations

Patients who complete the programme are achieving an average weight loss of more than 3kg

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

More than half of overweight patients who have enrolled on the NHS type 2 diabetes prevention programme have completed it achieving an average weight loss of 3.3kg, NHS England has revealed.

And when people who already had a normal BMI, but were on the programme due to other health and lifestyle risks associated with developing type 2 diabetes, the average weight loss increased to 3.7kg.

These findings show the programme – which involves attending at least eight support sessions over a nine-month period to receive education on lifestyle choices, advice on healthier eating and a bespoke physical activity programmes - has exceeded expectations with patients losing an average of 1kg more than originally predicted.

Speaking at Diabetes UK’s Professional Conference today, Simon Stevens, chief executive at NHS England, 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.”

The diabetes prevention programme, which was first announced at the 2015 Diabetes UK conference, is now on the verge of achieving complete national coverage. In the last 21 months of roll-out, more than 154,000 people have been referred, with around 66,000 people taking up places.

Just under half of those signing up are men – a much higher proportion than those that typically attend weight loss programmes, while roughly a quarter are from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities – groups that are at significantly greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The programme also recently launched digital support to patients. Five companies are test driving a range of apps, gadgets, wristbands and other innovative digital products in eight areas of the country, 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.”

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