With the numerous studies currently going on regarding diabetes prevention, it’s no wonder information regarding how to prevent diabetes appears on the landscape as often as it does. A 10-year study followed 3,000 high-risk patients with the aim to prevent rather than control diabetes has just released their findings. This study is one of the longest ever conducted in the United States and supports what many doctors and nutritionists already believed.
Approximately one-third of the participants were placed on a low-fat diet and told to undertake moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Their goal was to lose 7 percent of their body weight within one year.
Another third were given metformin, a drug used to manage diabetes. The final third initially did not undergo any intervention.
Lifestyle group results
The study reveals many of the lifestyle change group met their weight loss goals with an average of 15 pounds per participant. Although the average participant regained 10 of those pounds during the next seven years, they still had the lowest rate of diabetes.
After the trial was underway for three years, the lifestyle intervention group reported an amazing 58 percent reduction in diabetes onset. The metformin group reported 31 percent reduction as compared to those who had received no intervention.
The difference was so dramatic, the researchers decided to offer group counseling and support to all three groups for the duration of the study.
Importance of weight loss to the elderly
According to the research, weight loss is the most important way to prevent the onset of diabetes in those who are overweight. Although the study will continue another five years, the early results were so dramatic the researchers wanted to get the information out to those who are in need.
The study revealed intensive lifestyle intervention was particularly beneficial to those who are 60 and older. The diet and exercise group in that age category lowered their rate of developing the disease by half over the ten years.
Researchers say they will follow participants at least another five years. Recent results are published in the recent issue of TheLancet.
Because diabetes is on the rise in the United States, these important findings highlight the importance of prevention and lifestyle changes for those who are at risk of diabetes. The greatest expense due to the high rates of diabetes is in the treatment of complications. If the disease can be prevented in the first place, that will help slow the rising costs of health care.