A third of adults in England are at risk of developing diabetes, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
The research found the prevalence rate of pre-diabetes had increased from 11.6% to 35.3% from 2003 to 2011.
The report authors said: "If nothing is done to halt this trend, the country faces a steep rise in the prevalence of diabetes, as up to one in 10 of those with pre-diabetes will progress to diabetes every year."
Prediabetes is where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to qualify as Type 2 diabetes.
By 2011, 50.6% of the population who were overweight (body mass index under 25) and over 40 years of age had prediabetes.
Individuals with greater socioeconomic deprivation were more likely to have prediabetes in 2003 and 2006 but the relationship was not as significant in 2009 and 2011.
However, the report authors warned: "Those who are disadvantaged and of black and minority are ethnicity disproportionately affected."
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "This study is further evidence that there is an increasing number of people who are developing pre-diabetes.
"Having high enough blood glucose levels to be classified as having pre-diabetes leaves people at a significantly increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is a lifelong condition that already affects more than 3 million people and can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, amputation and blindness.
"Unless we make people aware of their risk of Type 2 diabetes and support them in changing their lifestyles, we could see an even greater increase in the number of people with the condition than we are already expecting."
Young concluded that a tenth of the NHS budget is already being spent on diabetes and unless the UK gets better at preventing Type 2 diabetes this spending will soon rise to "unsustainable levels."