Leicester diabetes prevalence rate set for major increase

Posted by pt91 at Dec 04, 2012 03:00 PM |
University of Leicester Professor warns of threat diabetes poses to people of Leicester

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 3 December 2012

New diabetes prevalence figures show Leicester to have one of the highest prevalence rates in the country.

Diabetes prevalence in Leicester is expected to rise from 9.1% to 13% by 2030 while in Leicestershire, the rise is from 7.1% to 9%.  The increase in Rutland is from 7.25% to 9.2% and in Northamptonshire from 6.9% to 8.8%.

The figures are available here:


Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Co-Director of the University's  Leicester Diabetes Centre, said "These figures highlight the threat that diabetes poses for the people of Leicester. The people of this city, for a number of reasons including the higher risk of diabetes for people from a South Asian background, face severe challenges in reducing their risk of diabetes and the long term complications such as blindness and heart disease that accompany it. I am proud that the work of the Leicester Diabetes Centre is at the forefront of both national and international initiatives to tackle the condition."

The University of Leicester hosts one of the largest diabetes research centres in Europe. The Leicester Diabetes Centre (LDC), under the leadership of Professor Melanie Davies and Professor Kamlesh Khunti, carries out world class diabetes research that is at the forefront of fighting diabetes. Their focus is on finding new ways of identifying people at high risk of diabetes as well as developing effective interventions to stop, slow and treat the condition. Their wide range of activity shows how research can push the boundaries of diabetes care, and improves the lives of people with diabetes, their families and carers.

Some of the many exciting initiatives which the LDC is pursuing with the support of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) include:

  • The NIHR funded Leicester – Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) is exploring how physical activity, diet and lifestyle can impact upon the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, specifically, diabetes.

Professor Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes and BRU Director said:

“Physical inactivity is estimated to be the fourth leading cause of death globally and our research will particularly include subjects from black and minority ethnic groups and young people at the highest risk of chronic diseases. The award of this BRU will allow us to become an International Centre of Research Excellence undertaking the full spectrum of lifestyle research which we believe will make a real difference, not only to people in the East Midlands but nationally and internationally”

  • ‘Sitting at a desk all day could be the death of you’

One of the BRU’s reports on the effects of sedentary behaviour, raised media interest world-wide, including from the BBC, Wall St Journal and Indian and Middle Eastern media. It analysed 18 studies involving 794,577 participant and concluded that sitting for long periods increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.

The study found that those who sit for long periods have a two fold increase in their risk of diabetes, heart disease and death. This seemed to be so even if people took the recommended level of exercise.

  • The Leicestershire, Northampton and Rutland Collaborative Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC for LNR) is working with the LDC in a number of areas including improving diabetes patient education, using pharmacists to detect people at high risk of diabetes, the link between heart attacks and diabetes in South Asians and using computer technology in GPs surgeries to detect people at high risk of diabetes.

Professor Richard Baker, Director of the CLAHRC for LNR, said “We are delighted to be able to support the LDC in all the ground breaking work they are doing to improve diabetes detection and care. The impact that diabetes has on individuals, their families and the NHS is often underestimated. I am confident that the work the LDC is carrying out will bring substantial benefits to the diabetes community and the health service.”

  • A Safer Ramadan toolkit is raising awareness amongst local Muslim communities about the effect of diabetes on Ramadan. The toolkit, co-produced with people with diabetes and their healthcare professionals, supports Muslims with diabetes to observe the holy month safely, whether choosing to fast or not.  It is being launched at the Primary Care Diabetes Society meeting on 16 November 2012.

Participants commented: “I changed the way I cook my samosas. I lost weight. Getting ideas from the group about cooking was helpful”

“My weight usually goes up during Ramadan and my blood sugars. I felt tired before even though I do not fast. This time I increased my exercise”

  • The Leicester Diabetes Risk Score, a simple test to measure how at risk people are of getting or having diabetes has proved highly successful. Over 202,149 people have taken the test via the Diabetes UK website alone!

  • Walking Away from Diabetes and Let’s Prevent Diabetes are diabetes prevention initiatives.  Walking Away from Diabetes is designed to support the national NHS Health Checks programme and is already available in some parts of the UK.  The course focuses on encouraging people to increase their level of physical activity by walking more. The study showed that increased walking had the potential benefit of reducing diabetes risk whether people lost weight or not.

  • Let’s Prevent Diabetes is designed for those with poor blood sugar control and is available in English, Gujerati, Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu. In development it was enthusiastically welcomed by people and work is underway to make it suitable for use by GPs.


Notes to Editors

For more information please contact Bill O’ Leary on 0116 252 5478 or 07887 653056

  1. The International Diabetes Federation’s Atlas of Diabetes estimates that in 2011 366 million people worldwide, or 8.3% of adults, had diabetes. If these trends continue, by 2030, some 552 million people, or one adult in 10, will have diabetes. This equates to approximately 3 new cases every 10 seconds or almost 10 million per year. It has been correctly described as a global pandemic.  Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has increased from 1.4 million to 2.9 million with one person diagnosed every three minutes. Leicestershire has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country with 50,000 people diagnosed with the condition. In 2011, diabetes cost the country £9.8 billion equal to £17,000 every minute. About 80% of this is spent on the complications of diabetes - many of which could be prevented By 2035, £16.7 billion will be spent on diabetes, that is, one sixth of the whole NHS budget or £31,000 every minute. Over 4 million adults in the UK, that is 1 in 5, are at very high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over the next 10 years. Of people at high risk of diabetes, over half will actually go onto to develop Type 2 diabetes over the next 10 years. Two-thirds of people at high risk, diabetes could be completely prevented if research from our group was applied in practice

  1. The Leicester Diabetes Centre, under the leadership of National Institute of Health Research Senior Investigator Professor Melanie Davies and co-director Professor Kamlesh Khunti, hosts a number of NIHR-funded research initiatives related to diabetes: the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) in Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity, and the South East Midlands Diabetes Research Network (SEM DRN).  The Centre also hosts two research Themes of the NIHR Collaborative Leaderships in Applied Health Research and Care for Leicester, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland (CLAHRC for LNR), as well as several prestigious NIHR-funded Programme Grants. 

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