The University of Copenhagen is set to implement a new research project to investigate how it can prevent the rise in diabetes diagnoses around the world.
Funded by the European Union (EU), it will be the largest study of its kind and is set to take place in eight countries across the continent, including the UK, as well as New Zealand, Australia and Canada. It will focus on the prevention of type-2 diabetes using diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Some 21 million Europeans are now being treated for diabetes and the number is estimated to be more than 371 million people globally. Worryingly, the number of people with diabetes has doubled in the past ten years alone, which is having a detrimental effect on worldwide healthcare funding.
These statistics have prompted the EU Commission to deploy funds towards a large research project known as PREVIEW, which seeks to put a stop to a potential explosion in future healthcare costs related to the illness.
Participants in the trial, which will last for three years and involve 2,300 adult volunteers and 200 children aged from 12 to 18, will follow a lifestyle programme that is based on one of the two diet types and they will complete one of two forms of exercise.
One diet is based on high carbohydrates, increased fibre and a moderate protein intake, while the other includes high protein intake and less carbohydrates. Meanwhile, the first fitness programme involves moderate exercise and the second includes high-intensity exercises.
The aim is to find the most effective combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle to combat type-2 diabetes.
Chief coordinator of the project Anne Raben, who is a professor at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, said: "It could save billions in health care costs for society if we are able to find a formula for how to best prevent type-2 diabetes."
The research will begin at the end of 2013.