Health professionals are increasingly treating diabetics with drugs rather than stressing the benefits of weight loss and exercise, a study suggests.
Research from Bristol University found more than one in three (36%) people who had only just found out they suffered from type 2 diabetes were given medicine within the first month of their diagnosis.
UK and international guidelines recommend advice on weight management and regular exercise should be given to people with type 2 before any pills are prescribed.
About 2.25 million people in the UK are known to have type 2, while another 500,000 suspected as being undiagnosed.
Researcher Dr Rob Andrews put the results of the study down to a lack of staff training and too few dieticians.
He also said increasing government targets on managing diabetes were to blame, citing the Quality and Outcomes Framework.
In the report, to be presented at Diabetes UK's Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow, he explained: "If you don't give patients the chance to understand their disease and don't let them try and control it with diet and exercise, evidence shows that for all the time they have diabetes, they don't focus on diet and exercise."