Those at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes may be able to earn themselves a reprieve. According to the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (a follow-up to the original Diabetes Prevention Program, or DPP), moderate lifestyle modifications over 10 years can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 34% compared with a placebo. Put another way, such changes can delay the onset of diabetes in high-risk individuals for about 4 years. By comparison, a group taking an anti-diabetic drug (metformin) can expect to decrease their risk of developing the illness by just 18%, gaining an average delay of only 2 years.
The research was published in the November 14 issue of The Lancet (2009; 374 , 1677–86) and involved 2,766 subjects (88% of the people who completed the DPP). All DPP enrollees were at high risk for developing diabetes. All were considered overweight or obese and had high blood glucose
levels. After 3 years of intensive lifestyle changes (increased levels of physical activity and modest weight loss), the participants had reduced their chances of
developing diabetes by 58%.
For those on metformin, the risk had dropped by 31%.
Prior to the follow-up study, continuing subjects participated in 16 educational lifestyle modification classes. Approximately 7 years later, it was clear that the lifestyle interventions were still having a positive effect. The benefits were especially pronounced among older subjects: those aged 60 or older lowered their rate of diabetes development by 50% during the 10-year span.
“The fact that we’ve continued to delay and possibly even prevent diabetes in people at very high risk for developing the disease is certainly a positive finding,” stated lead researcher Jill Crandall, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University.
Regular exercise helps inflammation as an effective protector and treatment against chronic diseases associated with low-grade inflammation.
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