NHS England has flagged up plans to expand the provision of digital support for people at risk of type 2 diabetes.
This follows trials of the scheme which found growing numbers of people ready to use digital rather than face-to-face support under the Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP).
NHS England said that people at risk of type 2 who cannot attend face-to-face support sessions will be able to receive wearable devices that monitor their level exercise and give them access to health coaches and educational content.
They will also be able to join online peer support groups and to set and monitor goals electronically.
The trials, involving more than 5,000 people, found that: 68% of the users of digital support were aged under 65; the average age was 58, compared with 64 for face-to-face interventions; and 16% of digital registrations were aged 18-44 years compared with 7% of the same age group registering for face-to-face support.
Nikki Joule, policy manager at charity Diabetes UK, said: “This pilot has shown that a digital version of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has the potential to encourage a wider range of people to participate.
“This could be vital in reaching more of the millions of people at risk of type 2 diabetes, and in helping to reduce the increasing prevalence of the condition.
“The success of this pilot should lead to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’s digital offering being rolled out more widely.”
In addition, the DPP, which was launched in 2016, is to be doubled to allow access to 200,000 people per year. Those who have completed the programme have lost an average of seven and a half pounds said NHS England.