According to a large-scale research study conducted by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia, the reduction of a few pounds of weight nearly halves the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A new study published in the international journal JAMA Internal Medicine reveals how the risk of having type 2 diabetes can be almost halved by offering resources to help people with prediabetes make minor improvements to their lifestyle, nutrition, and physical activity.
The NDPS clinical trial lasted for eight years and involved over 1,000 persons at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes with prediabetes.
The study showed that support for small improvements in diet, including weight loss of two to three kilograms and improved physical activity for two years, lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by 40 to 47 percent for those classified as having prediabetes.
There are about eight million people with prediabetes in the UK and 4.5 million have already developed Type 2 diabetes.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and the University of East Anglia (UEA), along with partners from Ipswich Hospital, and the Universities of Birmingham and Exeter, led the NDPS, funded by £ 2.5m from the National Institution for Health Science (NIHR), and NIHR CRN Eastern.
The research study tested a basic intervention in the lifestyle that helped individuals make incremental improvements in the lifestyle that lead to moderate weight loss and improved physical activity. Importantly, for at least two years, these modifications were sustained, and the weight loss was not put back on.
These studies are significant because they illustrate that a 'real-world' lifestyle regimen can actually make a difference in helping individuals minimize their type 2 diabetes risk.
Earlier researchers have used intensive and costly research approaches in various classes of patients with prediabetes, but this is the first time the risk of type 2 diabetes has been proven to be decreased by a real-world group of interventions.
"We welcome this new research demonstrating that a group-based support program can help people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes minimize their risk," said Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK.
Once again, this study demonstrates how maintaining moderate weight loss by improvements in diet, and physical activity will lead to enormous benefits for individuals at high risk of developing type 2. Type 2 diabetes is a dangerous disease, but most cases may be reversed or postponed with the right support.