NHS identifies more people at risk of type 2 diabetes
Vegetables surrounding a diabetes tester.

Over half a million more people in England have been identified by the NHS as being at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a year, NHS figures show.

The latest National Diabetes Audit shows that over 3,615,000 people registered with a GP were found to have pre-diabetes in 2023, compared to just over 3,000,000 in 2022.

In people under the age of 40, there has been an increase of almost a quarter in the same period – from 173,166 in 2022 to 216,440 in 2023.

Identifying more people means that the NHS can provide an earlier diagnosis and support to prevent progression of the condition.

People with pre-diabetes have blood sugar levels that are above the normal range, so are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The condition is typically picked up when someone has a blood test at their GP surgery.

The NHS has rolled out a range of innovative services to prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes and to reduce obesity rates, including the world-leading Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Over 1.6 million people have been offered support through the nine-month programme, which provides personalised support with practical tools and advice on healthy eating and lifestyle, increasing physical activity and weight management.

Developing type 2 diabetes can have a devastating impact on people and their families – it is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, lower limb amputation, heart attack, stroke and some cancers.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “These figures are concerning but they show exactly why the NHS is taking radical action to stem the tide of rising levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes – through our world first prevention programme and our soup and shakes diets.

“Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem for patients and not only is it linked to kidney failure, amputation, heart attack, stroke and many of the common types of cancer, it also adds pressure to NHS services.

“Doing nothing is not an option for the NHS, so we will continue to develop services that support people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to lead healthier lives. If you are worried about developing the condition, please do come forward and get the help you need.”

Around nine out of 10 people in England living with diabetes have type 2. The risk factors of type 2 diabetes are multiple and complex, including family history and ethnicity, as well as living with overweight or obesity.