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Five million at risk of diabetes

Wednesday 2nd September 2015
A new report from Public Health England (PHE) has said that up to five million people could be at risk of diabetes. Image Credit: AMR Image
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The obesity crisis is going to put the NHS under strain, a new report from Public Health England (PHE) has suggested.

According to the health service, diabetes currently costs more than £8 billion a year and causes some 22,000 premature deaths, and this is expected to rise.

Up to five million people in England are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is closely tied to a poor diet and being overweight. At the moment, around 3.2 million people have been diagnosed with the condition across the UK so the report from PHE highlights a significant and worrying increase.

However, a large proportion of these people could avoid the condition, which puts people at an increased risk of blindness and amputation, if they were to change their lifestyle habits. According to the PHE report, 26 per cent of the at-risk group could prevent themselves from getting diabetes].

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: "We know how to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes: lose weight, exercise and eat healthily, but it’s hard to do it alone. PHE’s evidence review shows that supporting people along the way will help them protect their health and that’s what our prevention programme will do."

The report, which was compiled by PHE’s National Cardiovascular Health Intelligence Network (NCVIN), is the most accurate and robust estimate of how many people over the age of 16 are at risk in England. This is judged by their blood sugar levels, which indicate whether they are pre-diabetic and at risk of developing the condition if they don't change their lifestyle choices.

Initiatives like the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) can help people reduce their risk by helping them lose weight, be more active and have a healthier diet.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said the NHS currently invest ten per cent of its budget on in managing the condition and unless prevention is more successful it will rise to  "unsustainable levels".

Written by James Puckle

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