Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Prevented?
has demonstrated that people at risk for type 2 diabetes can
prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by losing a
little weight. The results of the Diabetes Prevention
Program (DPP) showed that moderate diet changes and physical
activity can delay and prevent type 2 diabetes. Participants
in this Federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk
for diabetes experienced a 5- to 7-percent weight loss. For
example, a 5- to 7-percent weight loss for a 200-pound
person would be 10 to 14 pounds.
Study participants were overweight and had higher than
normal levels of blood glucose, a condition called
pre-diabetes, also called impaired glucose tolerance. Both
pre-diabetes and obesity are strong risk factors for type 2
diabetes. Because of the high risk for diabetes among some
minority groups, about half of the DPP participants were
African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific
Islander, or Hispanic/Latino.
DPP participants also included others at high risk for
developing type 2 diabetes, such as women with a history of
gestational diabetes and individuals aged 60 and older.
The DPP tested two approaches to preventing diabetes:
lifestyle change—a program of healthy eating and
exercise—and the diabetes drug metformin. People in the
lifestyle change group exercised about 30 minutes a day 5
days a week, usually by walking, and lowered their intake of
fat and calories. Those who took the diabetes drug metformin
received information on exercise and diet. A third group
only received information on exercise and diet.
The results showed that people in the lifestyle change group
reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
In the first year of the study, people lost an average of 15
pounds. Lifestyle change was even more effective in those
aged 60 and older. They reduced their risk by 71 percent.
People receiving metformin reduced their risk by 31 percent.
- Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (USA)