By the end of January 2015 areas can register their interest to co-design a national programme led by NHS England, Public Health England and charity Diabetes UK.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Boxing Day that GPs would be asked to identify patients who are putting on weight and were at risk of diabetes, particularly those aged under 40. Pre-diabetes tests would be offered, followed by healthy lifestyle advice and close monitoring to ensure patients were eating better and exercising more.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: ‘The ghost of Christmases past reminds us that 20 years ago we didn’t have these problems as a nation. The ghost of Christmases future tells us that if we get our act together - as the NHS, as parents, as schools, the food industry - we can get back in shape.
‘Rather than recent daft judgements by the European court practically pretending that obesity is inevitable, in England in 2015 we're going to start proving that it isn’t.
‘That’s why the NHS is going to be funding a new national programme, proven to work, that will offer tens of thousands of people at risk of diabetes proper support to get healthier, eat better and exercise more.
‘We know that for people at risk, losing just 5-7% of your weight can cut your chance of diabetes by nearly 60%. If this was a pill we'd be popping it - instead its a well designed programme of exercise, eating well and making smart health choices, and we're going to start making it available free on the NHS.’
NHS England said the new programme would be linked where appropriate to the NHS Health Check.