The largest study of its kind is to be carried out to find the right lifestyle to prevent Type 2 diabetes, which is threatening to become a medical “disaster” in Britain.
Experts aim to work out not only the best way to eat, drink and exercise but even how to sleep.
It could lead to people at risk of developing the condition being given a detailed diet and exercise regime, much like a prescription, to help protect themselves.
Professor Anne Raben, the project’s chief coordinator at the University of Copenhagen, said: “We would like to find out if our current dietary and exercise recommendations are optimal or whether another lifestyle and regimen is more effective.
“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 three-year study will start at the end of the year and involve 2,300 adult volunteers and 200 children aged from 12 to 18.
Eight countries will be involved including the UK, where the trial will be run by the University of Nottingham and Swansea University.
Professor Raben said: “We already know that a diet which follows current dietary guidelines can prevent diabetes. What’s unique about this project is that we are testing two diets against one another to find out if there might be a more effective alternative.
“We will include two types of exercise to determine if there is one that is more suitable. Finally we will also study the importance of stress and sleeping patterns.”