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Up to 20,000 patients will be referred to the Diabetes Prevention Programme by the end of 2016/17, NHS England have confirmed. By 2020, NHS England says 100,000 places will be available on the programme each year.

There are around four million people in the UK with diabetes, with 90% of cases estimated to be type 2 diabetes.

The program aims to teach patients about the importance of a balanced diet and regularly exercising in a bid to help them lose weight.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes at NHS England, said: “There’s a proportion of the population that are high risk but don’t have a relationship with general practice.

“In particular young Asian males – they are a high risk group but they won’t land in the health system and are too young for a health check.

“We need to find ways to get them from age 25, and hopefully this will address inequalities.”

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