The National Institute of Health has published a report stating that taking an aggressive approach to lifestyle change can reduce rates of type 2 diabetes.
In what is called an intensive lifestyle intervention program patients were provided the advice and resources required to help the lose weight with the aim of improving diabetes control. Also cardiovascular disease risk factors were tackled.
Generally overweight and obese people with risk of diabetes are also at risk of heart disease – they are both essentially caused by a poor diet that is high in sugar combined with a sedentary lifestyle.
The Look AHEAD study has been going on for 4 years already but still has a long way to go. Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) has being running trials aimed at investigating the lifestyle factors that lead to Type 2 Diabetes and the effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention program.
To do this they split diabetes people into 2 groups, the intensive lifestyle intervention program and a traditional diabetes support group.
The two lifestyle factors being investigated are daily calorie intake and exercise regime. When the study was started all participants were either overweight or obese and aged between 45 and 76 years. The average BMI was 36.
During the first 4 years of the study both groups saw improvements in their health. The Intensive Lifestyle intervention group lost the most weight but the diabetes support group saw the biggest reductions in bad cholesterol. However, these reductions are attributed to medication to reduce cholesterol.
“This important study shows that lifestyle changes have long-term favorable effects on diabetes control and cardiovascular disease risk factors in overweight or obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. ” Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
What is important about this study is that both groups saw an improvement in health. Lifestyle change does help empower people to maintain that improvement over the long term though, something that support groups do not always manage to achieve.