In a new study, researchers found that providing support to help people with prediabetes make small changes to their lifestyle, diet and physical activity can almost halve the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
They found that support to make modest lifestyle changes, including losing two to three kilograms of weight and increased physical activity over two years, reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 40% to 47% for those with prediabetes.
This is the largest diabetes prevention research study in the world in the last 30 years.
It ran over eight years and involved more than 1,000 people with prediabetes at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Exeter and elsewhere.
There are about eight million people with prediabetes in the UK and 4.5 million have already developed type 2 diabetes.
The study ran between 2011 and 2018 and worked with 135 GP practices in the East of England, and found 144,000 people who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In screening sites across the East of England, 13,000 of these people then took fasting glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) blood test to detect prediabetes.
More than 1,000 people with prediabetes were then entered into a randomized controlled trial, testing a pragmatic real-world lifestyle intervention, compared to a control group, with an average follow-up of just over two years.
The team tested a simple lifestyle intervention, which helped people make small achievable lifestyle changes that led to a modest weight loss, and increases in physical activity.
Importantly these changes were sustained for at least two years and the weight lost was not put back on.
These findings are important as they show that a “real-world” lifestyle program really can make a difference in helping people reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.
One author of the study is Professor Mike Sampson.
The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
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