People at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are being fast-tracked into the flagship Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention programme following research that revealed those living with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with Covid-19.
The programme, which supports people to lose weight and adopt healthier habits, is the first national initiative of its kind and has helped hundreds of thousands of people.
People can use an online tool, hosted by Diabetes UK, to calculate their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by answering a series of basic questions including age, weight and ethnicity. If their score comes back as moderate or high, they can refer themselves to a local Healthier You service for support remotely or online, without having to go through a healthcare professional for a blood test.
Those who qualify will be able to choose how they complete the programme, either by joining group sessions by video link or telephone with an experienced coach or through digital support, which includes online peer support groups and, in some areas, wearable tech.
The nine- to 12-month programme is designed to stop or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions, including:
- education on lifestyle choices
- advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating
- bespoke physical activity programmes.
Over half a million people have been referred into the programme, and those completing the programme who were overweight or obese lost on average 3.6kg, greater than initially predicted.
GPs are also now being encouraged to prescribe cycling as a way for their patients to lose weight, as part of a new government strategy to tackle the nation’s obesity crisis.