Long term lifestyle changes improve health of type 2 diabetics

by Barbara Hewitt on June 25, 2013

Long term lifestyle changes improve health of type 2 diabetics

Long term lifestyle changes improve health of type 2 diabetics

A long term lifestyle intervention programme can improve life and reduce health complications for obese people with type 2 diabetes, according to research presented at the American Diabetes Association’s latest scientific session.

A programme focused on weight loss, can improve physical quality of life, reduce microvascular complications, lower the risk of depression and lower medical costs by reducing the need for hospitalisations, outpatient care and medications, the meeting heard. However, intensive lifestyle intervention did not reduce the risk for heart attacks or strokes more than a comparison group given diabetes support and education, results from the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) clinical trial revealed.

Look AHEAD is a randomised trial conducted in 16 centres across the United States with more than 5,000 overweight or obese adults aged 45 to 76 years diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It assigned participants to one of two interventions: lifestyle which involved physical activity and weight loss, or diabetes support and education which involved three counselling sessions per year on nutrition, physical activity and social support.

Participants were followed for up to 11.5 years, with a median follow up of 9.6 years at the time the intervention ended. The primary goal was to determine whether the intensive intervention would reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Participants in the intensive lifestyle intervention group initially lost 8.6% of body weight and maintained a loss of 6% of body weight at the end of intervention. While the was better than researchers expected, the intensive lifestyle group did not reduce their risk of cardiovascular morbidity or mortality, or the level of LDL-cholesterol, the so called bad cholesterol, compared to the group that received diabetes support and education.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “Men who lose sleep during the work week may be able to lower their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by getting more hours of sleep, according to Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) research findings presented today at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.”

The support and education group lost 0.7% initially and 3.5% at the end of intervention, said Dr Rena Wing, PhD, chair of the Look AHEAD trial and professor of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour at Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Wing said there were numerous possible explanations for the unexpected results, including the greater use of medications to lower LDL cholesterol in the comparison condition, which may have minimised any difference between the groups. The study cannot rule out the possibility that greater weight losses might impact cardiovascular risk.

However, the intensive lifestyle intervention group did experience other benefits when compared to those in the comparison group, including reducing the risk of kidney disease, self reported retinopathy and depressive symptoms. Other benefits included an improved physical quality of life, and reduced annual hospital rates and costs. Lifestyle intervention also produced greater reductions in A1C, and greater initial improvements in fitness and all CVD risk factors except LDL cholesterol.

‘This study shows that overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes can lose weight and keep it off with many important health benefits,’ said Dr Griffin Rodgers, MD, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study. ‘It reinforces the recommendation that overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes should increase their physical activity levels and lose weight to improve their health,’ he added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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