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Slimming sessions can all but eradicate diabetes risk - study

19 October 2017 09:06

2.9 million people in the UK suffer with diabetes

2.9 million people in the UK suffer with diabetes

Overweight patients should be referred to slimming groups by their GPs to ward off type 2 diabetes, new study findings suggest.

The study, published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, finds that taking part in a weight management programme can reduce the risk of developing the condition by up to 97%, in people who are diagnosed as clinically obese.

Lead author Carolyn Piper, public health manager for the London Borough of Bromley, says a fresh diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is made every two minutes in Britain, adding that "the risk of developing the disease is significantly influenced by our lifestyles".

She continued: "It's within our power to reverse the ever-increasing tide of type 2 diabetes with the right education and support."

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The study

A group of 117 clinically obese people with a body mass index score (BMI) of 30 or more were invited to take part in a diabetes prevention programme, including a 90-minute consultation and 48 weekly Weight Watchers sessions.

At the start of the study, all the candidates had non-diabetic hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.

Just 3% of those involved on the programme went on to develop type 2 diabetes, while almost two in five (38%) saw their blood sugar levels return to normal.

A further 15% involved in the weight management programme have seen their blood glucose reduce, lessening their risk of developing the condition.

After one year, each patient lost an average of 10kg (22lbs).

' A significant public health challenge'

Around nine in 10 diabetes patients have type 2 diabetes, which is associated with lifestyle.

In just two decades, the number of Britons with diabetes has doubled, increasing to 2.9 million today, from 1.4 million in 1996.

It is estimated this figure could rise to five million people by 2025, affecting one in seven adults in the UK.