As part of Diabetes Prevention Week (16-22 April), residents across Berkshire, Oxford and Buckinghamshire are being urged to eat healthily and be more active, to help reduce their risk of developing diabetes type 2.

The amount of people in the region over 17, who have diabetes, has increased from 4.3% in 2009/10 to 4.8% in 2016/17, with 76,733 being diagnosed with the condition.

A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors in developing the diabetes type 2.

Having diabetes type 2 puts people at risk of developing other serious conditions including strokes, heart disease, limb amputation and early death, but with lifestyle changes is largely preventable.

As part of Diabetes Prevention Week (16-22 April 2018) GPs and other healthcare professionals in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, are urging residents to visit their GPs to find out if they are at risk and take action to improve their future health such as eating healthily, being more active and losing weight.

Over 4000 people in the region have already benefited from being referred to the Diabetes Prevention programme. Robert Hutton, from Thames Valley is one of them. The Programme offers a free personalised service for people at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Since being on the scheme, Mr. Hutton, a retired engineer, has lost six kilograms in weight. He is now urging others to check whether they may be at risk of the disease and take action on improving their own health.

Robert Hutton thought he was in reasonable shape and was enjoying his retirement. However, a consultation with his GP changed his view and the former engineer who lives in Buckinghamshire, decided to do something about it.

I had assumed the relatively high blood sugar readings from my blood tests were associated with my age, but I discovered this was not the case,” he said. “The consequences of diabetes were explained to me and, as with most challenges in life, I decided to make the most of the opportunity I had to try and steer clear of the disease.”

Robert signed up for support from the ten-month Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and is delighted with the results.

NHS England South Central medical director Dr Shahed Ahmed says. “Diabetes Prevention week is a timely opportunity to remind people of the benefits of the free Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. It can identify whether you are at risk and help you make small changes in your lifestyle to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes. Your GP can give you more information.”