● NHS chief an­nounces rad­i­cal low-calo­rie diet pro­gramme to com­bat obe­sity cri­sis

Daily Express - - Front Page - By Hanna Geissler Health Re­porter

A RECORD two mil­lion peo­ple are on the verge of de­vel­op­ing Type 2 di­a­betes, health bosses warn to­day.

NHS chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Stevens said obe­sity-re­lated ill­nesses will cost thou­sands of lives and bil­lions of pounds un­less peo­ple change their lifestyles.

The NHS is now step­ping up ef­forts to com­bat the dis­ease with rad­i­cal low-calo­rie

diet plans for pa­tients. Lat­est fig­ures show 1.97 mil­lion peo­ple have been di­ag­nosed with non-diabetic hy­per­gly­caemia, also known as pre-di­a­betes.

This means their blood sugar lev­els are raised but not yet in the diabetic range, sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing their risk of Type 2 di­a­betes and other heart and cir­cu­la­tory con­di­tions.

As the fig­ure only in­cludes those reg­is­tered with a GP who have had their blood glu­cose mea­sured, NHS Eng­land said mil­lions more are also at risk.

One in six hos­pi­tal beds is now oc­cu­pied by some­one with di­a­betes, it was re­vealed.

Es­ti­mates sug­gest soar­ing rates of the con­di­tion could re­sult in al­most 39,000 ex­tra peo­ple suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack in 2035 and more than 50,000 ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a stroke.

Mr Stevens said: “Our bulging waist­lines mean two mil­lion peo­ple are now at risk of join­ing the ex­pand­ing ranks of those liv­ing with largely pre­ventable Type 2 di­a­betes.


“The NHS’s highly suc­cess­ful, world-lead­ing di­a­betes preven­tion pro­gramme is help­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple take small com­mon sense steps to get con­trol of their own health.

“But un­less many more of us make a change, obe­sity-re­lated ill­nesses will end up cost­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands more lives and bil­lions of pounds in higher treat­ment costs.”

Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock said: “Type 2 di­a­betes can have dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences and these fig­ures make for star­tling read­ing. We must act now to curb this wor­ry­ing trend and help sup­port peo­ple to make the necessary life­style choices they need to take con­trol of their health.

“My whole agenda for the NHS is to do more to pre­vent ill health in the first place. The NHS is lead­ing the way in tack­ling di­a­betes and our ground-break­ing na­tional pro­gramme is al­ready see­ing en­cour­ag­ing re­sults.”

Type 2 di­a­betes is a con­di­tion that causes the level of sugar in the blood to be­come too high.

A lack of ex­er­cise and poor diet are all risk fac­tors for de­vel­op­ing the dis­ease. Around two in three adults in the UK are over­weight, putting more than 12 mil­lion adults at in­creased risk of the con­di­tion.

Di­a­betes and its com­pli­ca­tions cost the NHS more than £10bil­lion to treat ev­ery year.

Al­most four mil­lion peo­ple are liv­ing with a di­ag­no­sis in the UK.

Nine in 10 have Type 2, which is mainly caused by life­style fac­tors.

A fur­ther one mil­lion are be­lieved to be un­aware that they have Type 2.

The NHS is step­ping up ef­forts to com­bat the de­bil­i­tat­ing dis­ease by rolling out new low calo­rie di­ets to 5,000 peo­ple from April.

Pa­tients will be pre­scribed a liq­uid diet of just over 800 calo­ries a day for three months.

The diet should help many of them stamp out re­cently di­ag­nosed di­a­betes, send­ing it into re­mis­sion.

They will then re­ceive a fur­ther nine months of sup­port to help main­tain their weight loss.

The pi­lot scheme will be part of the Di­a­betes Preven­tion Pro­gramme which iden­ti­fies peo­ple at high risk of the con­di­tion and sup­ports them to trans­form their life­style. It has al­ready seen around half a mil­lion re­fer­rals and 90,000 have com­pleted it.

They have shed a com­bined 30,000 stone – roughly the weight of 43 ambulances.

And the pro­gramme will dou­ble in size this year to sup­port around 200,000 peo­ple an­nu­ally.

Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Val­ab­hji, NHS na­tional clin­i­cal di­rec­tor for obe­sity and di­a­betes, said: “As these stark fig­ures show, it is wrong to think that the obe­sity and di­a­betes cri­sis is lim­ited to those in mid­dle and old age. There are around 115,000 younger peo­ple suf­fer­ing Type 2 di­a­betes or at risk of de­vel­op­ing the con­di­tion.

“The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the part we are play­ing to tackle the sit­u­a­tion, in­clud­ing pi­lot­ing low-calo­rie di­ets to achieve Type 2 di­a­betes re­mis­sion.

“And dou­bling ca­pac­ity of our world-lead­ing Di­a­betes Preven­tion Pro­gramme can pre­vent peo­ple de­vel­op­ing it in the first place.”

Di­a­betes can lead to se­ri­ous health com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing heart dis­ease, blind­ness, stroke and am­pu­ta­tions. More than

10,000 peo­ple in the UK have kid­ney fail­ure be­cause of di­a­betes.

And more than 1,700 peo­ple have their sight se­ri­ously af­fected by the con­di­tion ev­ery year.

Chris Askew, chief ex­ec­u­tive at Di­a­betes UK, has called for ur­gent ac­tion to stop the rapid growth of the Type 2 con­di­tion.

He said: “More than half of all cases of Type 2 di­a­betes – and the dev­as­tat­ing com­pli­ca­tions it can lead to – could be pre­vented or de­layed by sup­port­ing peo­ple to re­duce their risk by los­ing weight where ap­pro­pri­ate, eat­ing healthy food and be­ing more ac­tive. The NHS Di­a­betes Preven­tion Pro­gramme is cur­rently reach­ing am­bi­tious tar­gets, both for the num­bers un­der­tak­ing the pro­gramme, and for the weight loss they achieve.

“This much-awaited ex­pan­sion is a great step to­wards the right di­rec­tion. Making it pos­si­ble to put the con­di­tion into re­mis­sion has the po­ten­tial to com­pletely trans­form the lives of those al­ready liv­ing with Type 2.”

DI­A­BETES truly is the scourge of our age. It is ironic that at a time the pop­u­la­tion has never been health­ier or lived longer, so many peo­ple are suc­cumb­ing to Type 2 di­a­betes – an en­tirely pre­ventable ail­ment – at a great cost to the NHS and, of course, them­selves.

This news­pa­per is no fan of the nanny state, but the mes­sage that un­healthy lifestyles can cause se­ri­ous ill­ness is clearly not get­ting through. Peo­ple need to learn the truth about the im­por­tance of a healthy diet and ex­er­cise.

A “sin tax” on sugar would be un­for­tu­nate but as mat­ters stand, it may yet be the only way ahead.

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