The monitored low-calorie plan, which can potentially reverse the condition, will be expanded across England by next March. Eligible patients diagnosed in the last six years will be referred by their GPs. It kick-starts weight loss for the first three months before healthy food is reintroduced slowly.
NHS England’s national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, will tell the Diabetes UK Professional Conference today that people in the diet’s pilot scheme lost an average of more than two stone in three months.
By the end of the year-long programme, currently available in 21 areas, people lost more than 1.5 stone. The England-wide rollout follows the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial, known as DiRECT.
It showed that some patients can put Type 2 diabetes in remission for at least five years by losing weight.
Prof Valabhji said: “Weight loss goes a long way to helping people stay well and avoiding preventable illness. In many cases it can be the trigger for putting Type 2 diabetes into remission. I am delighted thousands are making use of this programme, with thousands more set to benefit in the coming year.”
An estimated 4,500,000 people in the UK have Type 2 diabetes, which causes too much sugar in our blood.
Ingo, of Windsor, who lost more than seven stone in the DiRECT trial, said: “As you begin to see the results, it is very rewarding. Making changes is difficult, but the ongoing support makes it easier.”
Chris Askew, CEO of Diabetes UK, said: “Today’s important announcement is the result of over a decade of research funded by Diabetes UK. The expansion of this programme will offer even more people a better chance of a healthier future.”
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