At least 10 million Americans at high risk for type 2 diabetes can sharply lower their chances of getting the disease with diet and exercise, according to the findings of a major clinical trial announced by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"In view of the rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in America, this good news couldn't come at a better time," said Secretary Thompson. "So many of our health problems can be avoided through diet, exercise and making sure we take care of ourselves. By promoting healthy lifestyles, we can improve the quality of life for all Americans, and reduce health care costs dramatically."
The same study found that treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) also reduces diabetes risk, though less dramatically, in people at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
Participants randomly assigned to intensive lifestyle intervention reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. On average, this group maintained their physical activity at 30 minutes per day, usually with walking or other moderate intensity exercise, and lost 5-7 percent of their body weight. Participants randomized to treatment with metformin reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 31 percent.
The findings came from the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major clinical trial comparing diet and exercise to treatment with metformin in 3,234 people with impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes diabetes. On the advice of the DPP's external data monitoring board, the trial ended a year early because the data had clearly answered the main research questions.
Smaller studies in China and Finland have shown that diet and exercise can delay type 2 diabetes in at-risk people, but the DPP, conducted at 27 centers nationwide, is the first major trial to show that d
Contact: Joan Chamberlain
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases