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By Newsdesk

Friday, 08 March 2013.

More than three million people in the UK have now been diagnosed with diabetes, according to new research, which is equivalent to 4.6 per cent of the population.

Figures revealed by Diabetes UK and Tesco showed that the figure has risen by 132,000 people on last year, while there are a further 850,000 who are thought to have type 2 diabetes, but have yet to be diagnosed.

Urgent action has now been called for to prevent more people getting diabetes, and it is warned that the NHS could be burdened with unsustainable costs, which have huge implications for public health if more is not done.

A new partnership has been set up by Tesco and Diabetes UK which will see the supermarket, along with its suppliers, employees and customers look to raise £10 million. In addition, a public awareness campaign on type 2 diabetes will be launched and it is being aimed at seven million people who are deemed to be at high risk.

Those who have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will be aware of the importance of eating a healthy diet.

This can help to control the symptoms, along with stopping smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation and seeking out plenty of regular exercise.

A diet which is low in fat, sugar and salt and contains a high level of fresh fruit and vegetables is advised. Furthermore, avoiding high GI foods is good practice, while regular meals and healthy snacks will also be beneficial.

Breakfast should not be missed and low-fat dairy products need to be consumed rather than their high-fat variants.

The NHS has advised that meals should be based around starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread, while the Department of Health has also said that at least five portions of fruit and vegetables need to be consumed every day.

Commenting on the latest worrying research, Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "We are hugely concerned that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time. There is no reason to think this will mark the end of what has been a rapid rise in the condition."

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