One in six of all people in hospital have diabetes – while diabetes is often not the reason for admission, they often need a longer stay in hospital, are more likely to be re admitted and their risk of dying is higher. As well as the human cost, Type 2 diabetes treatment accounts for just under 9% of the annual NHS budget (around £8.8 billion a year). There are currently five million people in England at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. If these trends persist, one in three people will be obese by 2034 and one in 10 will develop Type 2 diabetes. There is strong international evidence demonstrating how behavioural interventions, which support people to maintain a healthy weight and be more active, can significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.
The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP) is a joint commitment from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK. There is currently a pilot programme of a digital stream of the prevention programme. The digital stream offers support, assistance and guidance but through the use of digital interventions such as: wearable technologies that monitor levels of exercise; apps which allow users to access health coaches; online peer support groups, and the ability to set and monitor goals electronically.
This online method of recording activity and monitoring progress has the potential to have the same impact as face-to-face interventions – helping bring down high blood sugar levels and in turn prevent or delay onset of the disease.
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