REDUCING the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by fully completing a new education programme may now be possible, according to a study supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), London, UK.
In a period where the National Health Service (NHS) is seeing an escalation in cases of Type 2 diabetes, full attendance on the Let’s Prevent Diabetes programme has shown positive results. Developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre, the programme has achieved an 88% risk reduction by those members who attended both a main session, in addition to two follow-ups over a 2-year period. Participants who missed only one follow-up session were also found to be 60% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. This demonstrates the possibility of reducing the number of cases of Type 2 diabetes as well as helping to ease pressure on the NHS.
The findings were made after examining 880 people from 44 general practitioner surgeries. Attendees either received standard care or the 6-hour group structured education programme concentrating on physical activity and making healthier lifestyle choices. Also included was an annual refresher course and phone contact scheme every 3 months to ensure motivation was still in place. Both groups received written guidelines and were followed-up for 3 years.
Prof Melanie Davies, Leicester Diabetes Centre, Leicester, UK, who led the Let’s Prevent Diabetes programme detailed that: “We assessed whether a structured education programme targeting lifestyle and behaviour change was effective at preventing progression to Type 2 diabetes in people at high risk, identified through a validated risk score and we have achieved success.”
With similar programmes now being put in place across the East Midlands and areas of Yorkshire as part of NHS England’s Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, Prof Davies said that: “These types of programmes, if applied correctly, are powerful and have the ability to enhance and improve people’s lifestyle. This programme has the potential to bring large reductions in cases of Type 2 diabetes.”
In addition to cutting the risk, those attending the education programme saw notable improvements in their cholesterol, step counts, wellbeing, and HbA1c.