A Leicestershire man who witnessed his father lose his sight with Type 2 diabetes vowed to turn his life around after being told he, too, could be at risk of developing the condition.

Chris Davidson from Desford says it is never too late to make vital lifestyle changes. The 71-year-old adds, "Your health is so important, so when I was told I could be at risk I jumped at the chance to go on a diabetes prevention programme. My father had Type 2 diabetes, which went untreated, and I saw what it did to him. He went blind and had heart disease and I am determined to avoid this."

The retired mental health worker and trainer was referred to the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. The initiative, which started in the East Midlands in 2016, has since been rolled out nationally.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the UK's biggest health challenges. The aim of the Healthier You programme is to help those at risk to prevent or postpone the condition. This entails education around positive changes to their diet, weight and the amount of physical activity they undertake.

"I found it very helpful to talk to others in the group and share my experiences – and learn from their experiences, too. My body mass index (BMI) placed me in the overweight sector but I've since lost weight, putting me back in the healthier range. My last blood test also showed I'd reduced my high risk factors so I'm in the clear for now – but I won't be complacent.

"My wife and I recently went on holiday to the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales and walked 10,000 steps every day for two weeks! The fact that I can do that at my age and feel good is testament to my great health and I want it to continue as long as possible. The programme certainly gave me the nudge I needed in the right direction."