The NHS is to offer help and support to hundreds of thousands of people who are battling with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Very low-calorie diets that have been shown to put Type 2 Diabetes in remission in those recently diagnosed with the condition will be trialled as part of the NHS long term plan, which will increase the focus on prevention as well as treatment.
The scaling up of the NHS DPP scheme, the first in the world to become available country-wide, comes after it proved even more successful than planned with patients losing on average a kilogram more than expected.
The nine-month programme helps people to:
• achieve a healthy weight
• improve overall nutrition
• increase levels of physical activity
Online versions of the DPP, which involve wearable technologies and apps to help those at risk of Type 2 Diabetes, will also be provided for patients who find it difficult to attend sessions because of work or family commitments.
Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens also announced that very low calorie diets will be piloted at scale by the NHS for the first time, from next year.
Patients who will be prescribed a liquid diet of just over 800 calories a day for three months and then a period of follow up support to help achieve remission of their Type 2 diabetes.
This approach will initially be piloted in up to 5,000 people following the Diabetes UK funded DiRECT trial, where almost half of those who went on a very low calorie diet achieved remission of their Type 2 diabetes after one year. A quarter of participants achieved 15 kg or more weight loss, and of these, 86% put their type 2 diabetes into remission.
A more recent trial of very low calorie diets, DROPLET, has demonstrated similar weight loss in obese individuals.
Mr Stevens said: “The NHS is now going to be ramping up practical action to support hundreds of thousands people avoid obesity-induced heart attacks, strokes, cancers and Type 2 diabetes. The NHS Long Term Plan is going to give people the power and the support to take control of their own lifestyles – so that they can help themselves while also helping the NHS.
“Because what’s good for our waistlines is also good for our wallets, given the huge costs to all of us as taxpayers from these largely preventable illnesses. However this isn’t a battle that the NHS can win on its own. The NHS pound will go further if the food industry also takes action to cut junk calories and added sugar and salt from processed food, TV suppers and fast food takeaways.”
Figures show that around 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 – which is linked to obesity, which in turn can lead to several illnesses including 13 types of cancer.
Currently, around 10% of the NHS budget is goes towards treating diabetes.