Lifestyle changes better at reducing diabetes risk

  • Olivia Fens

Intensive lifestyle changes, aimed at modest weight loss, reduce the rate of developing type 2 diabetes by 34% over 10 years in people at high risk for the condition, a new study has found.

However, the study found that the oral diabetes drug metformin only reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 18% over 10 years.

The study involved more than 3,200 overweight or obese adults at high risk to develop type 2 diabetes.

After three years the researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in the US found that intensive lifestyle changes, including exercise, reducing calories and fat intake, and frequent health-care professional visits, reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 58%.

Two daily doses of metformin but no lifestyle changes reduced the development of the disease by 31% over the same period.

“Changing one’s lifestyle to better health habits, including those aimed at reduced weight, a better diet and more exercise, will have long-term and sustained impact on overall health, at least in preventing diabetes and hopefully in preventing complications associated with diabetes and pre-diabetes,” the researchers said.

“Even if the weight loss is slight, it will have huge benefits.”

The study was published in the Lancet.

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