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Br J Community Nurs. 2009 Sep;14(9):374-9.

Understanding the role of diet in type 2 diabetes prevention.

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  • 1British Nutrition Foundation, London.


The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. Almost 4% of the UK population currently have diagnosed diabetes. Non-modifiable risk factors for diabetes include genetic predisposition, some black and ethnic minority groups and increasing age. Type 2 diabetes, (formally known as maturity onset diabetes), used to be a condition affecting adults only, although due to the increasing levels of obesity, it is now being diagnosed in young people and children. A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes. In particular, strategies to reduce obesity will have a beneficial effect on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, as excess adiposity (particularly central adiposity) is a strong risk factor for the condition. Dietary measures to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease will also help prevent diabetes. Diets low in fat (particularly saturated fat), and high in fibre and complex carbohydrates are effective in reducing the risk of developing diabetes. Good quality evidence from trials is required to determine the role of specific micronutrients in diabetes prevention.

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