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There are currently 2.9 million Britons suffering from Type 2 diabetes, and many more are thought to be unaware they have developed the condition.
Yet the 20-year British study into Type 2 diabetes, funded by the Wellcome Trust and British Heart Foundation, suggests that the majority of deaths from the disease - of which there are 24,000 each year - could be avoided with simple changes to diet and lifestyle.
Published in the journal Diabetes Care, the study looked at the health of 5,000 participants aged between 40 and 69, and found that eating a healthy low-fat diet with plenty of green veg, drinking less alcohol and taking more exercise is the key to preventing diabetes.
And it's particularly important for high-risk groups such as those of south Asian, African and African Caribbean descent, for whom the risk is almost double.
Director of research at the charity Diabetes UK, Dr Iain Frame, echoed those sentiments, urging those in high-risk groups to "avoid being overweight".
Dr Therese Tillin, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, added: "The urban environment is a toxic environment. There are implications for everyone.
She advised: "Be as physically active as possible and keep to a healthy diet low in fat and with plenty of green veg. Start young, but it is never too late."
What do you think? Are the Government doing enough to raise awareness of lifestyle changes that could prevent diabetes? Leave your comments below...