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Modest Lifestyle Changes Can Lower the Risk of Developing Diabetes

Being overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes. So a British study finding that modest lifestyle changes could lower the incidence (by over 40%) of developing type 2 diabetes is very encouraging. These were persons who had been diagnosed with prediabetes, thus they were at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What are the beneficial lifestyle changes? Losing a modest amount of weight (4 1/2 to 7 pounds) and increasing the amount of exercise to 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise.

Excerpts from Science Daily: A few kilograms weight loss nearly halves the risk of diabetes

Losing a few kilograms in weight almost halves people's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes -- according to a large scale research study led by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia.

A new study published in the international journal JAMA Internal Medicine shows how providing support to help people with prediabetes make small changes to their lifestyle, diet and physical activity can almost halve the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

The findings come from the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS) -- the largest diabetes prevention research study in the world in the last 30 years. The NDPS clinical trial ran over eight years and involved more than 1,000 people with prediabetes at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The study found that support to make modest lifestyle changes, including losing two to three kilograms of weight and increased physical activity over two years, reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 40 to 47 per cent for those categorised as having prediabetes.

The research trial tested a simple lifestyle intervention, which helped people make small achievable lifestyle changes that led to a modest weight loss, and increases in physical activity. Importantly these changes were sustained for at least two years and the weight lost was not put back on.

These findings are important as they show that a 'real-world' lifestyle program really can make a difference in helping people reduce their risk of Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes.

The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study ran between 2011 and 2018 and worked with 135 GP practices in the East of England, and found 144,000 people who were at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

More than 1,000 people with prediabetes were then entered into a randomised controlled trial, testing a pragmatic real-world lifestyle intervention, compared to a control group, with average follow-up of just over two years.

Prof Colin Greaves from the University of Birmingham, who jointly led the development of the NDPS intervention, said: "If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, this approach offers a way to take a different direction in your life -- to get off the path to type 2 diabetes and onto the road to a healthier future."

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