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Diet & Exercise Delays Onset of Diabetes

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) has found that diet & exercise can reduce risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%.

The DPP study compared the effects of diet & exercise (lifestyle) with medication as a means of reducing risk or delaying onset of diabetes.  Over 3,000 participants with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) participated in the study.  IGT is a condition in which blood sugar is elevated but is not elevated to the point of diagnosing diabetes.  This is more commonly referred to as Pre-Diabetes.  All participants in the study were overweight.

The participants were divided into 3 groups:

  1. Lifestyle group - the goal of this group was to lower bodyweight by 7% via exercise and following a low fat and reduced calorie diet.  Subjects were to exercise 150 minutes per week - most chose to walk (or other comparable activities) 30 minutes per day for exercise.
  2. Medication - this group was given a medication called Metformin to lower blood sugar.  This group was also given information on diet and exercise.
  3. Control group - this group was given a placebo or substance having no effect on lowering blood sugar.  This group was also given information on diet and exercising.

Results of the study were so convincing that the study was ended a year early so that findings could be immediately shared with the public.  Those in the lifestyle group reduced risk for diabetes by 58%.  Those taking medication reduced risk by 31%.  Lifestyle modifications were more effective in reducing risk/delaying onset than medication.

Researchers are following subjects to learn how long these interventions are effective.

United States Department of Health & Human Services.  Press Release - Diet & Exercise Dramatically Delay Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes medication Metformin also effective. 


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