Great strides have been made in our collective understanding of the benefits of well-managed diabetes and controlled blood glucose, and the key role in these that is played by physical activity. Yet slow progress has been made translating this knowledge into effective lifestyle education to engender healthful behaviour on a large scale. Very many young people remain at particularly high risk from the chronic effects of disabling diabetes complications. The threat of huge increases in the human and economic costs of diabetes demands a concerted response by multiple sectors of society to spot the warning signs and reduce the multiplehealth risks associated with this life-long condition. Massimo Massi-Benedetti describes a countrywide initiative in Italy, Campagna Buon Compenso del Diabete (BCD Campaign), which aims to spread a culture of diabetes prevention through healthy lifestyle education.