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12/11/2009 - Articles

Type 2 diabetes prevention can be long term

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Type 2 diabetes, if not controlled, can lead to some serious health problems. Therefore, the best approach is to try to prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place in those who are at risk of developing it. There have been several studies involving the prevention of type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise, and with medication such as metformin and acarbose. One of the most well regarded of the type 2 diabetes prevention studies is the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) lifestyle management plus metformin. Overall, such studies show that lifestyle management (diet and exercise) can lead to a 30-60% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes risk.

Now the DPP researchers have published a follow up study of the DPP, involving over 3,000 individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes. After almost three years of the original DPP, intensive lifestyle intervention reduced type 2 diabetes risk by 58% and metformin reduced the risk by 31%, compared to placebo. At the start of the follow up, the participants came, in roughly equal numbers, from all three groups. All of them were offered lifestyle interventions because its benefit had already been identified. Those originally in the metformin group carried on with the medication.

During the ten year follow up the original lifestyle group lost and then partly regained weight. Those in the metformin group maintained a modest weight loss. Type 2 diabetes incidence was similar between the three original groups. The researchers conclude that, ten years on, type 2 diabetes risk is reduced by 34% in the original lifestyle intervention group and 18% in the metformin group compared to placebo. Therefore, making lifestyle efforts in diet and exercise can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes over the long-term.



Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group 10-year follow up of diabetes incidence and weight loss in the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study The Lancet November 14 2009; 374:1677


Created on: 12/11/2009
Reviewed on: 12/11/2009

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