This year, the scheme will more than double in size to support about 200,000 people each year. Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS's national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, said the program's success was "encouraging" but warned that there is more work to be done to combat obesity. He said: “About two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are now overweight or obese, leading to increasing rates of type 2 diabetes that we are now concentrating major efforts to prevent as part of our NHS Long Term Plan. .
“Helping people avoid diabetes can save lives, so these results are encouraging.
"But ultimately, the NHS cannot win the fight against obesity alone, which is why we are providing people with the tools to help themselves – changing lives and freeing vital NHS resources."
About four million people in the UK live with type 2 diabetes and the condition and its complications cost the NHS over £ 10 billion to treat each year.
Estimates suggest that the increasing number of people affected could result in nearly 39,000 diabetics suffering a heart attack and more than 50,000 strokes in 2035.
The nine to 12 month program is designed to stop or delay the onset of the disease, helping patients make vital lifestyle changes.
Helen Dickens, Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns for Diabetes UK, said: “The number of people living with obesity in England has almost doubled in the last 20 years. Because obesity accounts for 80 to 85 percent of your risk for type 2 diabetes, programs like these are essential to helping people prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
“The NHS Diabetes Prevention Program, however, is much more than just a weight loss program. It has helped thousands of people discover more about the risk of type 2 diabetes and take steps to reduce it. "
She added: "It's important to remember that weight is just one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
“Others include ethnicity, family history and age.
"We recommend that everyone use our free Know Your Risk tool to find out their type 2 diabetes risk."
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “The NHS is leading the way in tackling type 2 diabetes through this innovative national program, which is already getting encouraging results.
"Diabetes can have devastating consequences, but with this innovative service, we can help people make the necessary lifestyle choices and take control of their health."
Last year, the NHS launched a range of digital devices to help more people benefit from the program, including a wearable exercise monitor and an app to access health coaches and online support groups.
They were hired by nearly seven out of 10 people, compared with about 50 percent of face-to-face support, NHS England said.