The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recommending lifestyle change programmes to those at the highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to NHS England, there are 5 million people who are at ‘high risk’ of developing type 2 diabetes and 1 in 10 people could develop the condition by 2034 unless steps are taken.
NICE’s director of the centre for guidelines, Professor Mark Baker, said ‘We know that helping someone to make simple changes to their diet and exercise levels can significantly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.’
NICE’s new guidelines come after a recent study by the University of Glasgow and Newcastle, which found that type 2 diabetes can go into remission if patients lose weight (around 15kg or 2.4 stone).
Although the study was concerned with beating the condition once people had it, NICE’s new push is for preventative action to try and educate the public and mitigate against the expected rises in the number of people suffering from the condition.
For Professor Baker, ‘This approach is a cost-effective way of managing an illness that currently costs the NHS around £8.8bn a year.’ At present, there are 2.8 million people in England with type 2 diabetes and an additional 200,000 diagnoses happen every year.
The programme will provide those at risk with personalised weight loss plans, dietary advice and a physical exercise routine that will help to prevent the onset of diabetes. NICE is also encouraging all over 40s to go and see their GPs for a diabetes risk assessment.
Many GPs, however, have expressed concern about offering blanket checks to over 40s due as it may subject healthy people to unnecessary checks and also diverts resources away from those who may actually need them.
Dan Howarth of Diabetes UK has welcomed the new guidelines: ‘We know that globally, diabetes prevention programmes do work, and we know that with the right advice and support, people at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes can take simple but significant steps to prevent the condition developing.’