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NICE outlines ways to prevent type 2 diabetes

8040972-article-fruitCost-effective physical activity, dietary and weight management interventions should be introduced to help prevent type 2 diabetes, says NICE.

UK cases of type 2 diabetes have soared in recent years, fuelled by an increase in obesity rates. Currently, it is estimated that there are 2.8 million people with diabetes in the UK and a further half a million people who are unaware that they have the condition.

This latest guidance, launched earlier this month at the NICE annual conference in Birmingham, recommends that primary care teams work in partnership with providers of local public health services to develop interventions aimed at people of South Asian, African-Caribbean, black African and Chinese descent, and those from a lower socio-economic background, where the incidence of type 2 diabetes is higher than in the general population.

In the UK, people of South Asian origin are up to six times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than the white population. They are also likely to develop type 2 diabetes 10 years earlier.

People from lower socioeconomic groups are also at greater risk, and are three and a half times more likely to experience ill health as a result of diabetes than those in more affluent groups.

The guidance recommends that commissioners and healthcare providers use local and national tools and data from public health data collection agencies and the census to identify local communities at high risk of developing diabetes to assess their specific needs.

Planning regulations should be used to create local environments that encourage people from black and minority ethnic and lower socio-economic groups to be more physically active and to adopt a healthier diet by ensuring local shops stock good quality, affordable fruit and vegetables.

Food manufacturers, caterers and retailers can play their part by improving some prepared foods to decrease calories, saturated fat and salt content, and improve food labelling.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE said: "Type 2 diabetes is a big health problem in the UK, and is particularly prevalent in certain groups, so it is very important that there is comprehensive, evidence-based guidance in place that can help address this serious condition. I am sure this guidance will be welcomed as a helpful aid to help prevent diabetes."

Dr Neel Basudev, a GP in London who was involved in the development of the guidance, said: “As an inner London GP, I am seeing increasing numbers of patients in my practice with diabetes, which is a real concern.

“It is a serious, long-term health problem, so it is vital we take steps now to ensure that fewer people go on to develop the condition.

“The recommendations in this guidance are wide-ranging but straight-forward, and I hope will go some way in helping this public health epidemic.”

Professor Nick Wareham, Chair of the Programme Development Group and Director of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, added: "Population and community interventions that achieve small but significant shifts in people's diet and physical activity levels are likely to be the most effective way of reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes at a national level.

“I am confident that this guidance will help bring about the changes needed to stop people developing this serious, life-affecting condition."

25 May 2011

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.