People at high risk of diabetes who participated in a government weight loss program during the pandemic lost more pounds than those who started earlier, an NHS study suggests.
Research shows that those who enrolled in the NHS Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) in 2020 and early 2021 were on average around 2.4 kg heavier than those who started the program in the past three years, NHS England said.
It is estimated that a one kilogram, or 2.2 pound, gain can increase a person’s risk by about 8%.
The new study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, compared the weight of people at high risk for type 2 diabetes who took the program between Jan.
It found that people under 40 were hardest hit, with those who started the program during the pandemic averaging eight pounds heavier than those who enrolled before that time.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, the NHS National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, who presented the results, said, “The pandemic has changed every part of our lives, affecting our bodies and minds, with thousands of people paying a high price and many winning . “Weight during lockdown.”
He said weight gain meant an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, which has been linked to many common cancers, blindness, amputations, and heart attacks and strokes.
He added, “When we return to normal life, there has never been a better time to make small changes to improve our health. Our NHS diabetes prevention program can help people do just that. “
According to NHS England, 405,000 people have been helped by the program since it was launched in 2016 are overweight or obese, which significantly reduces their risk of type 2 diabetes.
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The DPP lasts between nine and 12 months and is designed to stop or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through advice and support on healthier diets, weight management, and exercise.
The NHS ‘accelerated access to DPP, according to research, found that people are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 if they have the disease.
Dan Howarth, Head of Care, Diabetes UK, said, “Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease with multiple risk factors including age, family history and ethnicity.
“Living with obesity is the single biggest risk factor, accounting for 80-85% of the risk of developing the disease.
“This study suggests that there may have been an increase in body weight in people at high risk for type 2 diabetes during the pandemic.
“This is worrying as it could cause the rates of the disease to soar.
“The NHS diabetes prevention program is central to helping those at risk, and since many people found it harder to control their weight during the pandemic, it has never been more important.”