Thousands Reduce Their Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes With Free Evidence-based NHS Lifestyle Change Programme
Around 90% of people with diabetes in England have type 2 diabetes. With current trends suggesting 1 in 10 people might have the condition by 2030, preventing type 2 diabetes is more important now than ever before.
“South Asians develop type 2 diabetes at younger ages and with lower excess weight than typically seen in white ethnicities.” says Dr Chirag Bakhai, a GP and Primary Care Advisor to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
Dr Bakhai continues, “type 2 diabetes can lead to blindness, nerve damage and heart attacks. Avoiding complications is best done by preventing the condition. A healthy lifestyle with exercise and weight management can make a big difference.”
Although some risk factors such as family history, age and ethnicity cannot be changed, the most important factors such as diet, physical activity and body weight can be addressed to help prevent type 2 diabetes
The NHS offers the free, 9-month Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme for those at high risk of type 2 diabetes and GP practices have referred over 1.3m people.
Harry Matharu joined the programme after his GP diagnosed him with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (pre-diabetes). “Because of the programme, I am active, energetic and happily wear a size 28 waist.”
“Being Indian, I knew the risk was high for developing type 2 diabetes, but never thought it would happen to me”, says Kishor Chauhan from Greenford, who joined the Programme after
blood tests showed high blood sugar levels.
Kishor continues, “Although I was active with a good diet, I overindulged in sweets. Lifestyle changes helped me reduce my blood sugar, and I lost 7kg in weight.
Type 2 diabetes risk factors:
- Age – You are more at risk if you are older; however, for Black or South Asian ethnicities, the risk increases from age 25.
- Family history – You are two to six times more at risk if you have a parent, sibling, or child with the condition.
- Ethnicity – Chinese, South Asian, Black Caribbean, or Black African ethnicities have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Weight – You are more at risk if you live with obesity or overweight.
- Blood pressure – You are more at risk if you’ve had a high blood pressure diagnosis.
The Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme can help you take control of your health and manage your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Dedicated coaches and experts, through face-to-face groups, apps or websites, support you in making sustainable lifestyle changes that could reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The latest evaluation of the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme showed a 20% reduction in type 2 diabetes amongst referred individuals. Previous analyses have shown that people completing the programme have a 37% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
To find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, search “diabetes know your risk” online and answer a few simple questions on the Diabetes UK website. If the tool indicates you are at increased risk, contact your GP practice for a simple blood test to check your sugar levels and assess for diabetes. If you are found to have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (pre-diabetes), you might be eligible for a referral to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
Kishor Chauhan, 66 from Greenford West London
Ethnicity – South Asian
Kishor Chauhan from Greenford started attending the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in November 2019 after routine blood tests with his GP showed his blood sugar levels were high and that he was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. After finding out about the programme, he thought it would be a good idea to attend. He’s an active person walking a lot through work and playing Badminton with friends but he admits that although his diet was good with plenty of fruit and veg, he occasionally indulged in sweets.
“I found the programme very interesting and informative and I’ve learnt so much. For example, I know more about healthy portion sizes and eat less in small amounts, I understand about the high sugar content in certain fruits such as bananas and apples and I appreciate the importance of eating plenty of vegetables.
“As the course went on, I lost 5kg!
“Navigating the pandemic hasn’t been easy but I continue to exercise at home, cycling and walking regularly. My wife has also been very supportive, for example, she’s worked with me on seeing the changes that could be made by cooking healthier foods – and through the pandemic, she’s helped to ensure that I continue to eat a healthy diet.
“Being South Asian of Indian origin I knew that we are at a higher risk of developing type 2 Diabetes, but I didn’t think it would happen to me. And looking at the benefits of the programme for someone else who is from a South Asian background, they are countless – there are so many changes we can all make to be healthier such as switching to brown rice, using healthier oils and cutting down on treats along with exercises. The programme arms you with this knowledge so you can make the necessary changes to your lifestyle to reduce your risk of developing this dangerous condition.
“If you think you could be at risk of developing type 2 Diabetes, use the Know Your Risk tool via Diabetes UK today. If the tool shows you are at high risk, you may be invited to join your local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – and if this is the case, I’d recommend you take the plunge and attend. I’m so glad I did.”