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Intensified lifestyle intervention cuts risk of diabetes mellitus

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By Jimmy Downs

Friday Nov 16, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Following a healthy lifestyle can reduce risk of diabetes mellitus significantly in those who are at high risk for the disease, according to a study in Diabetologia - Clinical and Experimental Diabetes and Metabolism.

The study led by J. Lindström of Diabetes Prevention Unit, Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland and colleagues found men and women who at high risk of diabetes mellitus who received advice on an intensified lifestyle intervention for four years were about 40% less likely to develop diabetes mellitus, compared to those who only received the standard advice.

In the study, 172 men and 350 women who were overweight and middle-aged with impaired glucose tolerance  or in other words, they were at higher risk of diabetes mellitus, were randomized to either an intensive lifestyle intervention  intended for weight loss, dietary modification and intensified physical activity or general lifestyle information for four years. 

Specific goals of this intervention was 5% weight reduction, compared to baseline weight, fat intake less than 30% and saturated fat less than 10%, fiber more than 30 grams per day and four hours ore more physical activity per week.

During the 4-year intervention and 13 years of follow-up, incidence of diabetes mellitus, body weight, glycemia or lifestyle were recorded.

Overall during the 4 years of intervention and 13 years of follow-up, the risk of developing diabetes mellitus was found 39 percent lower, compared to that for those who were in the control group.  During the 13-year follow-up, the risk for diabetes mellitus was 33% lower in those receiving the intensified lifestyle intervention, compared to those controls.

The researchers concluded "Lifestyle intervention in people at high risk of type 2 diabetes induces sustaining lifestyle change and results in long-term prevention of progression to type 2 diabetes."

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