Preventing type 2 diabetes: A research agenda for behavioural science

David P. French, Amy L. Ahern, Colin J. Greaves, Rhiannon E. Hawkes, Suzanne Higgs, Rachel Pechey, Falko F. Sniehotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this narrative review was to identify important knowledge gaps in behavioural science relating to type 2 diabetes prevention, to inform future research in the field.
Seven researchers who have published behaviour science research applied to type 2 diabetes prevention independently identified several important gaps in knowledge. They met to discuss these and to generate recommendations to advance research in behavioural science of type 2 diabetes prevention.
A total of 21 overlapping recommendations for a research agenda were identified. These covered issues within the following broad categories: (a) evidencing the impact of whole population approaches to type 2 diabetes prevention, (b) understanding the utility of disease-specific approaches to type 2 diabetes prevention such as Diabetes Prevention Programmes (DPPs) compared to generic weight loss programmes (c) identifying how best to increase reach and engagement of DPPs, whilst avoiding exacerbating inequalities, (d) the need to understand mechanism of DPPs, (e) the need to understand how to increase maintenance of changes as part of or following DPPs, (f) the need to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of alternative approaches to the typical self-regulation approaches that are most commonly used, and (g) the need to address emotional aspects of DPPs, to promote effectiveness and avoid harms.
There is a clear role for behavioural science in informing interventions to prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes, based on strong evidence of reach, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. This review identifies key priorities for research needed to improve existing interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 May 2023


  • Prevention of diabetes
  • diet
  • exercise/physical activity
  • complex intervention
  • obesity


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