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Survey highlights lack of awareness of diabetes risk factors

A worrying number of people in the UK are unaware of some of the major risk factors of type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
A survey commissioned by Diabetes UK and private healthcare provider Bupa found that while most Britons (72%) are aware of the risks posed by being overweight, obese and inactive, some 63% do not know that having a large waistline – 5 inches and over for men and 31.5 inches or over for women – increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The finding suggests that people who have a healthy body mass index (BMI) but still have a large waist may wrongly assume that they are not at greater risk .
In addition, the survey revealed that an alarming 90% of people are unaware that people from black or south Asian backgrounds have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, while just 45% believe that having a diabetic relative increases their risk .
“The fact that awareness of some risk factors for Type 2 diabetes is so low is worrying; it is only if people know they are at high risk that they are likely to be motivated to make the lifestyle changes that can help prevent it,” Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said.
“We are particularly concerned that people might think they do not have anything to worry about just because their body mass index suggests they are in the healthy weight range. But if someone carries their weight around their middle and has close family members with diabetes, they could still be at high risk.”
Bupa’s medical director Paula Franklin, commented “These findings show just how vital it is to increase awareness of the risks of type 2 diabetes .
“Unlike some other conditions, people can reduce their risk by making simple lifestyle changes such as eating healthily. However, they need to have an understanding of the risk factors in order to do so.”
To help address the issue, Bupa and Diabetes UK have today launched an online type 2 diabetes risk assessment tool, which they hope will “encourage people to make healthier lifestyle choices and reduce the number of people who get the condition”.

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