14/11/2011 10:51 GMT | Updated 04/05/2012 10:46 BST

Type 2 Diabetes is a Growing Problem, but it's Also Preventable

Today is World Diabetes Day, a global event to increase awareness around the growing problem of diabetes. This year, however, the date holds greater significance for me.

Now that my professional cricket-playing days are over, controlling my weight is not easy. We all know that eating healthily and exercising is good for us, but sometimes it is hard to live by example, despite the well-known health fears.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem, as is weight gain and obesity, but in many cases it can be prevented if we look after ourselves - we just need a good nudge in the right direction and continued support.

I used to work closely with a nutritionist and fitness coach back in my playing days to make sure I was in peak form when I went on to the field, however these days I'm on my own, so it's a bit of a learning curve, and I must say it is sometimes hard not to give in to temptation.

I love a good curry - that's my weakness - however I have found healthier alternatives now, which still taste great, so it isn't as hard as I first thought.

However, if you do need motivation to keep to the healthy living path, just take a look at the recent figures regarding diabetes in the UK. Only last month, it was revealed that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has increased to 2.9 million, with one person diagnosed every three minutes - that's scary stuff!

However saying that, 90% of known diabetes cases are type 2, which, for the most part, can be prevented and controlled through diet and lifestyle changes.

Diabetes is costing the NHS nearly £1 million pounds an hour and causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined, which truly is a frightening thought, especially when some of those deaths could be prevented through a small change to your daily routines.

We all know how easy it can be to slip into bad habits when it comes to not eating healthily and perhaps not exercising as frequently as we should, but what I've learnt since embarking on this change is that it's the small steps that can make the real difference.

I am therefore pleased to be supporting a campaign called "lbs for £s", that has seen www.tescodiets.com and Diabetes UK join forces to turn every pound (lb) in weight lost into one pound (£), which will be donated to Diabetes UK and Diabetes Ireland. Our aim is to raise £100,000!

I'm signed up on a healthy eating plan to try and make a difference, both to my waistline and to help fund research into treatments and a cure for future generations. It's a win-win situation, and we all know how much I like winning.

*Authors Note

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments, which I have taken on board.

I've now amended the article to differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to prevent future confusion. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Best wishes,