Under-40s at high risk of killer diabetes will get free NHS diets to stop disease in its tracks – are you eligible? | The Sun
28th August 2023

THE NHS is set to offer free diets for under-40s with type 2 diabetes, after an alarming rise in young people.

In the UK, 148,000 people aged between 18 to 39 have what has historically been considered a disease of middle age.

The NHS is to launch a new scheme to target this group who are at high risk of deadly complications including kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

Younger patients will be offered a free 12-week "soup and shakes" diet, which has been proven to put type 2 diabetes into remission.

They will receive tailored health checks, support with diabetes management such as blood sugar level control and weight-loss advise.

Patients will also benefit from extra one-to-one reviews as well as the option of new medicines.

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Treatments could include weight loss jab Ozempic, which is available on the NHS to treat type 2 diabetes.

The announcement comes cases of the disease are now rising at a faster rate among those under 40 than in those over 40.

The latest National Diabetes Audit shows cases among under 40s rising by 19 per cent between 2017/18 and 2021/22, against an 11 per cent increase among older adults.

Early onset type 2 diabetes is more aggressive than later onset type 2 diabetes and is often triggered by poor lifestyle habits like eating too much unhealthy food or not exercising.

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On average, someone diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 20 years-old will have an overall reduced life expectancy of 11 years.

Those diagnosed aged 65 can expect to reduce life expectancy by two years.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity said: "Type 2 diabetes in people under 40 is a growing problem globally – England is no exception, meaning there is an ever-increasing challenge for the NHS.

"We know this age group is least likely to complete vital annual health checks but we want to ensure people are able to manage their diabetes well and reduce the risk of serious complications, which is exactly why we have embarked on an ambitious and world-first initiative called T2Day: Type 2 Diabetes in the Young.

"The programme will provide targeted intervention for each person under the age of 40 living with type 2 diabetes, including additional reviews focused on completing proven diabetes care processes, managing blood sugar levels, weight management, preparation for pregnancy, and supporting any unmet psychological or social needs.

Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: "This is a vitally important step towards improving care for people who develop type 2 diabetes at an early age.

"Type 2 diabetes is a serious, life-changing condition. It can have more severe and acute consequences in younger adults and is more common in people from ethnic minorities and those living in the most deprived areas.

"Yet we know that access to vital routine diabetes care is lower in the 18-40 age group – putting those affected at a higher risk of potentially devastating complications."


Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising.

This is because symptoms don't always make you feel unwell.

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According to the NHS symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling thirsty all the time
  • feeling very tired
  • losing weight without trying to
  • itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • blurred vision

Am I eligible?

If you are between the ages of 18-39 and suffer from type 2 diabetes you could be eligible for free weight management assistance on the NHS.

If you haven't been diagnosed but have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes it's important you see a doctor.

A GP can diagnose diabetes.

You'll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery.

The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better. Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.

Source: NHS

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