Raj Vadhia from Luton considered himself to be fit and healthy, with an active and physical job as a machine operator. However, having retired in early 2017, Raj's relaxed lifestyle caught up with him as his weight, and blood sugar level, began to rise.

"I hadn't been as active as when I was working all day and the pounds started to pile on," said Raj. "It was nice to take it easy and do nothing, I slipped into a few bad habits.

"When my GP identified high blood glucose levels it was no surprise and I knew that I needed to do something proactive to help myself."

The 65-year-old was referred by his GP to the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and began attending regular local sessions with Ingeus educator Michael Bellamy.

"It was really good meeting people in a similar situation and Michael's support has already paid off," continues Raj. "I've lost five kilograms and my blood sugar level has returned to a normal level. The sessions have really helped, we've covered elements of food preparation, portion control and how to take simple steps to become more active.

"They're really just small changes but they make a huge difference. I take daily walks, help with the housework and shopping, and generally keep myself occupied and active. I'm much more aware of what I eat and will definitely attend the programme to its completion. I'm looking forward to continuing the good work."

Type 2 diabetes usually appears in middle-aged or older people, although more frequently is being diagnosed in younger overweight people. It occurs when the body is not making enough insulin, or the insulin it is making is not being used properly. It is estimated that 4.5 million people are living with diabetes in the UK and that around 700 people are diagnosed with the disease every day. That's the equivalent of one person every two minutes.

But according to Ingeus educator Michael Bellamy, it is never too late to make lifestyle changes.

He said: "It can be challenging to make changes to your routine but the Healthier You programme gives people the confidence and inspiration to take control. We look at risk factors such as age, ethnicity and family background but focus much more on elements that participants can actively change like their food intake and activity levels. The rewards are great and can lead to a much healthier life."

In Luton, the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is delivered by Ingeus in partnership with Luton Clinical Commissioning Group. Raj has been so impressed by the programme that he has supported it publicly, contributing to publicity materials for World Diabetes Day in November.