NHS England and partners have launched the ‘Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’ (NDPP) to help people who are at risk of developing Type 2. In the UK, around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year and five million people in England are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.
The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme identifies people at high risk and offers them support to make positive changes to their lifestyle to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The programme is a partnership between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, working with private providers and local authorities. The service is being delivered in the North East by WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
If you haven’t been referred to Healthier You but you’re interested in the service, the first step is to check if you’re at high risk. Visit the ‘Know Your Risk’ calculator and find out if you are at risk of getting Type 2.
For more information visit Weight Watchers or contact your GP Practice.
What is diabetes?
There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than Type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have Type 2.
Every two minutes someone finds out that they have Type 2 diabetes. There are 3.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. This figure has more than doubled in the last 20 years. If current trends persist, 1 in 10 people will develop Type 2 diabetes by 2035.
More about Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce doesn’t work properly (insulin resistance). It can be a combination of both. Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems. It’s a leading cause of vision loss in people of working age. It’s also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation (other than accidents). People with diabetes are at least twice as likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than those without diabetes. It’s therefore essential to be diagnosed as early as possible because Type 2 diabetes is likely to get worse if left untreated.
Early diagnosis and treatment may also reduce the risk of developing complications later on. It’s very important that you find out if you are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes so you can get support to lower your risk. You may also be eligible to sign up for your free local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
There are several risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, some of which can’t be changed. The risk of Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by getting support to lose weight (where appropriate), getting more physically active and eating healthy food. Furthermore, the risk of COVID-19 related in-hospital death is doubled by Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is found in nearly one third of people who die with COVID-19. The NHS DPP is a joint commitment from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK.
Who is at greatest risk of Type 2 diabetes?
The older you are, the greater your risk is likely to be. The other factors are;
Your family history
You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with Type 2 diabetes
You’re more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you’re over 25 and from a Chinese, South Asian, Black Caribbean or Black African ethnic background
You are more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if you carry excess weight or have obesity
Your blood pressure
You’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure
Other risk factors
- You’ve ever had a heart attack or stroke
- You’ve ever had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression, or if you are receiving treatment with anti-psychotic medication
- You’re a woman who’s had polycystic ovarian syndrome, gestational diabetes, or a baby weighing over 10 pounds
You can’t change some of these risk factors. But others you can. The risk of Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by getting support to lose weight, getting more physically active and eating healthy food.
Your free local ‘Healthier You’ service can support you in taking action in all these areas. Making changes now can lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
About ‘Healthier You’
This programme can support you to improve your diet, get more physically active and lose weight (where appropriate) to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The first thing you need to do is to find out if you are at risk of developing the condition. You can do this by using the Diabetes UK risk tool.
Do that by simply searching Know Your Risk online. If you can’t do that simply call your GP and discuss your concerns with them. They can also refer you onto the ‘Healthier You’ programme
You’ll be asked a series of questions to identify if you are at a low, moderate or high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Make sure to have a tape measure handy as you’ll need to measure your waist. It’s simple!
The programme has a range of personalised support to help you, from helping you eat well, to tips on weight loss and physical activity. The service is here to support you on your journey back to a Healthier You.
To help you keep focused and motivated on your goals, you’ll have access to trained health coaches, and you’ll be able to meet other people in your area who are also trying to reduce their risk of Type 2 Diabetes if you want to. Although the programme is normally delivered in groups at different times and locations, right now it’s offered over telephone or group video conference, or online through apps and websites.
Case Study 1 – Read Isobel’s weight loss journey
Type 2 diabetes can be a very serious health condition and can lead to long-term health problems if left untreated. The good news is that you can significantly reduce your risk by making small lifestyle changes that will make a big difference; maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active are all steps that you can take today.
Your local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has a range of personalised support to help you do just that. From helping you eat well, to tips on weight loss and physical activity, the service is here to support you on your journey back to a Healthier You. The programme is run by Weight Watchers (WW).
Isobel Brown, aged 63 from Carlisle did just that and has lost 18lbs. “I was finally referred to WW in September 2019 with my first meeting taking place in October 2019. “I was first told I was pre-diabetic in 2018 and would be referred but heard nothing. In July 2019, I had to undergo a procedure which necessitated the use of an anaesthetic; as a result, I had to have a blood test to check everything would be OK. The result of the blood test was that I was pre diabetic. The level of HbA1C was 49; the range is between 41 and 48. I had to go back for a further blood test and the result came back showing that the level of HbA1C was 47. At this point, I was told I would be referred and that I should follow either a low carbohydrate diet OR WW but not both. The only advice I was given was that I should avoid oranges and orange juice.
“It was with some trepidation that I attended my first WW workshop; I was thinking that I would be standing up and saying something along the lines of “I’m Isobel and I’m fat.” It was nothing like that. I was made to feel very welcome and it was obvious that all involved were, and still are, very professional and welcoming.
“I thought I would struggle with this, as I saw it at that time, diet regime; but have found that it is easy to stick with. Nothing is off limits as long as it is tracked. “I enjoy the workshops as they help; hearing what tactics others use to keep on track and sharing my thoughts and ideas as to what I do. I have found that I am eating more healthily and, while I would not say I ate loads of fruit, I now eat a lot more than I did before joining WW.
“If I have had a bad week, then the workshops always help to pick me up and to reset my mindset to being more positive. I often feel that I won’t say anything at the workshops as I am sure that people don’t need to hear me going on about me, but Anna always encourages all of us to say something about how we feel or how our week has been. I know I have quite a lot more weight to lose before I am out of the danger zone and will continue to attend WW even after the NHS period is over. I find I am looking forward to the workshops and, if I can’t attend on my day, I will attend another session with Anna.
“Anna is very positive and upbeat and supports us all to attain our goals; I am most impressed that she knows all of our names and remembers what we have said in previous meetings.
“I am very grateful to the NHS for referring me as being pre diabetic was the kick in the pants that I needed to start to lose weight; I was aware that I was, and still am, overweight, but had not realised by how much until I was looking at the before photographs for this campaign.
“During this period of lockdown, I have found the remote workshops to be invaluable. I can talk openly about any issues or difficulties I may be experiencing during this strange time and I know my WW coach, Anna Power, will come up with a brilliant idea to help me through them. I really don’t think I would be able to continue this journey without the help and support I get through the workshops. Also, it is really good to connect with members and coaches from other parts of the country.”
Isobel’s start weight was 12st 8lbs, her current weight is 11st 4lbs.
Case Study 2 – Rodney’s story
I lost two and a half stone using a simple calorie diet with the object of reducing my weight to alleviate my knee problem. Having lost that weight I was very self-satisfied so I was shocked to be diagnosed as pre diabetic and was referred to WW by the NHS.
I will admit to being a bit sceptical, having done all sorts of diet for years and subsequently put weight back on. From day one it felt better and more likely to succeed in changing my lifestyle. My blood sugar has now been pronounced as normal. My blood pressure is much lower and I am now taking less tablets. I thought that losing weight and exercising would prevent type 2 Diabetes. However I was soon made aware that what you eat is important, and WW was there to help me through. I have been a dieter for 50 years and it has never stuck for more than a few months. Since joining WW I have found it easy to lose weight and even easier to keep it off. I now don’t think about what to eat and keep a track with the app. Having lost I 1/2 stone since starting the course.
I am now on a maintenance regimen varying by about 1/4 pound per week. The up side, I am happy to say, is that my BMl is well within the healthy range, I am no longer pre diabetic and taking less blood pressure tablets. Although I am on a list for a knee operation, I now no longer need it.
The downside is that my waist size is lower than it has been for 60 years and it’s going to cost me a fortune in new clothes when lockdown ends. I am now eating healthily and realise that I will be able to carry on that way for the rest of my life. Thank you for changing my life for the better. With personal determination and your support and guidance I can look forward to a much longer and happier life.
Case study 3 – Mo’s story
With high cholesterol and a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Mo decided it was time for a change and was referred to the free local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which is run by Weight Watchers (WW).
There are many benefits I’ve felt on my (WW) journey so far. I was unaware of these benefits when I first embarked on this wonderful and transforming endeavour of self-discovery and fulfilment.
My WW journey started in September 2018. At the time, I had no idea of the profound impact it would have on me, particularly the mental and physical transformation I would go through. It’s definitely changed my life for the better.
Prior to joining the programme I thought life was great: I had the best family & friends, a supportive partner and a great job, so what was I missing?! I didn’t actually realise I was missing anything until joining the WW programme. Since losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, I’ve experienced this overwhelmingly positive shift in both body and mind. My confidence has soared and I believe in myself much more than I did.
“Before joining WW, I was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes”
Before I found WW, I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an alarming BMI reading and was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes due to my weight and lifestyle. These readings at a medical appointment shocked me. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, if I knew then what I know now, I would’ve been motivated to make changes sooner. I put myself at greater risk by overlooking so much when it came to my overall wellbeing.
I conformed to age-old cultural male attitudes and stereotypes. I grew up believing that men must not talk openly about deep-rooted issues such as weight and body image. Luckily, I’m part of a generation that is now challenging this archaic notion as we make conscious positive strides to improve ourselves both as individuals and in society. The health implications that arise from being overweight are equally harmful to men and women, but for some reason they have been treated or thought of differently in the past.
Men are not often associated with programmes such as WW, but there are lots of us who have found success on the programme. What I’ve found in the WW community is that we all go through things, and we can support each other through the good and the bad.
Before starting my journey, I weighed nearly 18st, but was always a very active person and felt there were no issues with my weight. I was happy in myself, confident, and pretty content with the way things were. However looking back now, I know deep down I struggled with my addiction to junk food and portion control. I also did not address the deep discomfort I had with my clothes size. I often avoided shopping for new things because the things I liked did not come in my size in some of my favourite shops.
“WW gives you the tools and knowledge to commit”
The WW programme offers you so much, and it’s so flexible that it can be tailored to fit anyone’s lifestyle. And I mean literally anyone! I’ve learnt a lot about myself along the way, and the priceless knowledge I have obtained about the effects food nutrition has on me both physically and mentally is powerful beyond measure. At the heart of any success is commitment, and you have to be committed to building the best version of yourself using the tools and knowledge that WW gives you.
The Diabetes UK risk tool can help you find out if you’re at risk of developing the condition. It takes just a few minutes and could be the most important thing you do today.’
The advice is to have a tape measure handy as you’ll need to measure your waist. Search ‘Know Your Risk’ and call your GP today if you have any concerns.
“I will continue to strive for more than just weight loss”
I’ve lost more than 5st since the start of my WW journey, have been maintaining now for the last six months, and have completely transformed my body and my mindset. I feel great! As well as significantly reducing my exposure to weight-related health risks, I’ve also learnt some lifelong lessons and have experienced an overwhelmingly positive health shift in my body, mind and soul. But my journey doesn’t end here. I will continue to strive for more than just weight loss.
Believe me when I say your journey starts here with WW. What are you waiting for?
NHS bosses urge people to get serious about Type 2 diabetes
Every two minutes someone finds out that they have Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can be a very serious health condition that can cause long term health problems. It can lead to sight loss, kidney failure, loss of a limb, and makes you at least twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can have a huge impact on you and your family and can mean lots of changes to the way you live your life.
‘Dr Janet Walker, medical director, NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), ‘Its very important that you find out if you are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes so you can get support to lower your risk. You may even be eligible for your free local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which is run by Weight Watchers (WW). The Diabetes UK risk tool can help you find out if you’re at risk of developing the condition. It takes just a few minutes and could be the most important thing you do today.’
The advice is to have a tape measure handy as you’ll need to measure your waist. Search ‘Know Your Risk’ and call your GP today if you have any concerns.
Diabetes Prevention Week
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week is a joint campaign from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK that is taking place from 10th –16th May 2021. The campaign aims to raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes, how to prevent it, which groups are at-risk and encourages patients to check their risk via the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool.
The campaign also encourages healthcare professionals to refer eligible patients to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – an evidencebased lifestyle change programme which helps people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk through managing their weight, eating more healthily and being more physically active
Promotional materials are now available at – https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/72-healthier-you/resources
Resources available for diabetes education
Packs for MyType1Diabetes and DigiBete apps are now available. These packs include FAQs for healthcare professionals and patients, template letters for service users and assets to promote the services online including copy for bulletins, twitter images and a promotional video.
Keeping well as lockdown eases
Diabetes UK have a new leaflet ‘Keeping well as lockdown eases’ available for order on their online shop and will replace the current ‘Staying at home and managing diabetes.’ The new leaflet aims to help less digitally literate people feel confident and supported as lockdown restrictions start to ease and change.
Coronavirus Updates – Diabetic Eye Screening
Diabetes UK have added a coronavirus update to their eye screening information page. Many appointments were postponed because of the pandemic, but services are beginning to resume for some people now. Information has also been added so users can find out more about the services local to them.
Diabetes UK continue to update our webpages; our advice for healthcare professionals on coronavirus (COVID-19) and diabetes and coronavirus advice page for people living with diabetes and their families. These pages are based on the most recent guidance available and also signpost to other relevant sources of support and information.
Here are some useful promotional materials to raise awareness of the risk of T2 diabetes and the availability of the National Diabetes Prevention Programme.
NHS DPP e-learning module now live
A new online training module about the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme launched last November.
The 30 minute e-module is aimed at GPs, Practice Nurses and other Practice staff. The content covers what Non-Diabetic Hyperglycaemia (NDH) is, what the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is; how it works and who is eligible. There are also some basics on motivational interviewing. The aim is to provide healthcare professionals with the tools and information they need to make quality referrals into the programme.
The course is free and CPD-accredited. It can be accessed by creating a free account on the RCGP Learning site.
We urge you to complete the course and encourage relevant colleagues to do so too.
We’re hosting two virtual events during Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week:
For healthcare professionals: Preventing Type 2 diabetes in 2021 and beyond – a virtual event for healthcare professionals
When: Monday 10 May 2021, 5 – 6.30pm
Where: Zoom (joining link will be shared with registered delegates before the event)
Join Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director of Diabetes and Obesity and a panel of experts in diabetes for 90 minutes of:
- the latest official updates from the NHS Diabetes Programme
- real-world insight from panel members working across the breadth of the diabetes field
- the chance to discuss with your peers some of the biggest challenges and opportunities currently faced in preventing Type 2 diabetes, and share your ideas for improvement
- a Q&A with the expert panel.