The prevention of type 2 diabetes: in UK it’s also digital

Forty thousand people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes will receive digital support to prevent the development of the disease. The initiative is foreseen in the Long Term Plan of the NHS, published at the beginning of the year.

The first patients to benefit will be those who cannot access the prevention service provided in the traditional way.

The Digital Diabetes Prevention (DPP) program includes wearable technology to monitor exercise levels, applications that provide services to health professionals and educational resources, online support groups and the ability to set and monitor health goals. The DPP has already helped thousands of people lose a total of 59,400 kilos of weight.

The UK Health Service (NHS) plans to double the programme so that 200,000 people can access it. Pilot projects revealed that 24-hour access to digital counselling has significantly increased the number of people working on the PLR. Almost 70% of the people who referred to digital systems participated, compared to about 50% of those who used the traditional service.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest challenges for the NHS, with nearly 4 million people suffering from it in England, costing over £6 billion a year. One in six hospital beds in England is occupied by people suffering from this condition and its complications. If no preventive measures are taken, 1 in 3 people will be obese by 2034 and 1 in 10 will develop type 2 diabetes.

Jonathan Valabhji, Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity at the NHS, said “I’m delighted to see such a positive response among younger working age people, which shows how a digital approach can expand the reach of patients’ services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan“.

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