Fitbit and Diabetes UK Collaborate to Help Tackle Diabetes

Partnership aims to help people lead healthier and more active lives, supporting initiatives such as the One Million Step Challenge

[LONDON – 10th February] Fitbit and Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people affected by diabetes, today announced a new three-year partnership. Together they will work to educate Brits on the importance of understanding their own health and how leading a healthier and more active lifestyle can play a critical role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and management of all types of diabetes. The organisations will collaborate on a series of initiatives throughout 2021 and the coming years to encourage healthy behaviour change, including the One Million Step Challenge, to encourage participants to move more.

In the UK, more than 3.5 million people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of all diabetes diagnoses nationally.[1] With the numbers expected to rise to over 5 million by 2030, the two organisations’ shared mission could not come at a more important time - as more than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed through adopting healthy lifestyle changes such as eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy weight.[2]

To encourage those who are currently living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to take action to build these types of healthy habits, Fitbit will support the One Million Step Challenge which takes place in July. The challenge aims to encourage participants throughout the country to step-up their activity and take at least 10,000 steps a day to reach a one million step target at the end of the three-month challenge period. The partnership will also recruit volunteers, to share their stories and showcase how adopting a healthier and more active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or help minimise the impact of living with any type of diabetes.

Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said: "We’re really pleased to announce the launch today of a new partnership between Diabetes UK and Fitbit. Diabetes is, and always has been, a very serious health condition; a fact which has only been highlighted further by COVID-19. We hope, together with Fitbit, that this partnership will help raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and will emphasise the importance of physical activity - both in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and in good management of all types of diabetes.

"We believe Fitbit is the perfect partner to our programmes supporting people with, and at risk of type 2 diabetes, to be active and to live healthier lives. Together, we hope to affect real change in the fight against all types of diabetes and we are very much looking forward to getting started."

As we live through these unprecedented times, it has been shown that the coronavirus pandemic has caused consumer stress and anxiety levels to increase[3], which along with age, ethnicity, weight and genetics, is a known risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes[4]. Further data has also shown that people with diabetes, are considered more vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19[5], therefore the importance of focussing on positive lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of developing or minimizing the impact of the condition has become even more vital.

Nicola Maxwell, Director of Fitbit Health Solutions in EMEA, said, “The current pandemic has shown us that understanding your health, and adopting healthy lifestyle changes, is more important than ever. Fitbit helps people to identify and track changes in their individual well-being and then manage their health more effectively. For example, new metrics like oxygen saturation (SpO2) trends[6] can help provide a good understanding of your overall health and fitness. Tracking these trends, along with breathing and heart rate, and Fitbit’s sleep and stress management tools, can enable you to better understand your health and wellbeing. With most research illustrating the positive effect a healthy lifestyle can have on people at risk of developing diabetes and individuals with a type 1 and type 2 diagnosis, we are proud to work together with Diabetes UK to help raise awareness and help motivate Fitbit users to set goals and adopt healthy lifestyle changes.”

To find out more about the partnership, or to Know Your Risk of type 2 diabetes visit diabetes.org.uk.


Notes to Editors

About Fitbit

Fitbit helps people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration and guidance to reach their goals. Fitbit designs products and experiences that track and provide motivation for everyday health and fitness. Fitbit products are carried in approximately 39,000 retail stores and in 100+ countries around the globe. Fitbit’s diverse line of innovative and popular products include Fitbit Sense™, the Fitbit Versa™ family of smartwatches, Fitbit Charge 4™, Fitbit Inspire 2™, and Fitbit Ace 2™ trackers and Fitbit Aria Air smart scale. The Fitbit platform delivers personalized experiences, insights and guidance through leading software and interactive tools, including the Fitbit app, and Fitbit OS for smartwatches. Fitbit’s paid subscription service, Fitbit Premium, provides advanced analytics and actionable guidance in the Fitbit app to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Fitbit Premium + Health Coaching provides one-on-one virtual coaching with expert health coaches and personalized plans based on your Fitbit data. Fitbit Health Solutions develops health and wellness solutions designed to help increase engagement, improve health outcomes, and drive a positive return for employers, health plans and health systems.

Fitbit and the Fitbit logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fitbit in the U.S. and other countries. Additional Fitbit trademarks can be found www.fitbit.com/legal/trademark-list. Third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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About Diabetes UK

  1. Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke. 
  1. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 8 percent of people with diabetes have type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It’s the most common type of diabetes in children and young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.
  1. People with type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required. 
  1. About 2 per cent of people have other types of diabetes. Other types include 11 different forms of monogenic diabetes, cystic fibrosis related diabetes and diabetes caused by rare syndromes. Certain medication such as steroids and antipsychotics, surgery or hormonal imbalances could also lead to other types of diabetes.  

For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: Diabetes in the News: A Guide for Journalists on Reporting on Diabetes (PDF, 3MB).

[1]Diabetes UK, Facts and Stats on the Prevalence of Diabetes: https://diabetes-resources-production.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/diabetes-storage/migration/pdf/DiabetesUK_Facts_Stats_Oct16.pdf

[2] Diabetes UK, How Can I Reduce My Risk of Diabetes: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/preventing-type-2-diabetes/can-diabetes-be-prevented

[3] Coronavirus and anxiety, Great Britain: 3 April 2020 to 10 May 2020 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/coronavirusandanxietygreatbritain/3april2020to10may2020

Diabetes UK, Stress and Diabetes: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/emotions/stress

[4] Diabetes UK, Risk Factors:


[5] Associations of type 1 and type 2 diabetes with COVID-19-related mortality in England: a whole-population study


[6] Not available in all markets and on all products. This feature is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and should not be relied on for any medical purposes. It is intended to provide information that can help you manage your well-being.