The national type 2 diabetes prevention programme will not cut the incidence of type 2 diabetes, according to an open letter by leading GP academics.
The letter, which was published in the British Journal of General Practice, argues that the national scheme – which provides cooking and exercise classes to those considered “at high risk” of type 2 diabetes – is not broad enough in its criteria.
By following the current course of action, the letter suggests, there will be an over-reliance on medication for people with a high risk of type 2 diabetes. What is needed, rather, is a focus on addressing the root causes of the UK’s rapidly-increasing rates of type 2 diabetes.
The type 2 diabetes prevention programme – a joint initiative with Public Health England and Diabetes UK – should be applied throughout the country in April. It is based on evidence that shows 30 to 60 per cent of type 2 diabetes cases could be avoided through lifestyle changes.
The screening process for the prevention programme invites everybody over the age of 40, and people over 25 from ethnic groups predisposed to type 2 diabetes, to be checked for diabetes risk. People with conditions linked to type 2 diabetes are also invited.
But according to Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, professor of primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, and Dr. Eleanor Barry, academic trainee at the Barts and the London Medical School, the prevention programme merely offers “expensive, intensive interventions to participants selected on strict and extensive criteria with stringent methods to maintain participant engagement.”
“Policymakers have underestimated the complexity of sociocultural influences that predispose to [type 2] diabetes and the barriers that need to be addressed to ensure success of ‘behaviour change’ interventions,” Greehalgh and Barry said.
Greenhalgh and Barry urge policymakers to “heed the recommendations of experts and initiate a long-term primary prevention strategy applied at multiple levels including populations and community components.”

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