Our objective was to review modelling methods for type 2 diabetes mellitus prevention cost-effectiveness studies. The review was conducted to inform the design of a policy analysis model capable of assisting resource allocation decisions across a spectrum of prevention strategies. We identified recent systematic reviews of economic evaluations in diabetes prevention and management of obesity. We extracted studies from two existing systematic reviews of economic evaluations for the prevention of diabetes. We extracted studies evaluating interventions in a non-diabetic population with type 2 diabetes as a modelled outcome, from two systematic reviews of obesity intervention economic evaluations. Databases were searched for studies published between 2008 and 2013. For each study, we reviewed details of the model type, structure, and methods for predicting diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our review identified 46 articles and found variation in modelling approaches for cost-effectiveness evaluations for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Investigation of the variables used to estimate the risk of type 2 diabetes suggested that impaired glucose regulation, and body mass index were used as the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes. A minority of cost-effectiveness models for diabetes prevention accounted for the multivariate impacts of interventions on risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Twenty-eight cost-effectiveness models included cardiovascular events in addition to type 2 diabetes. Few cost-effectiveness models have flexibility to evaluate different intervention types. We conclude that to compare a range of prevention interventions it is necessary to incorporate multiple risk factors for diabetes, diabetes-related complications and obesity-related co-morbidity outcomes.