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Beyond metformin: long-term lifestyle modifications seriously cut diabetes risk

Diet and exercise makes a major dent in the rate of type 2 diabetes development for people at risk.

Study under review: Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes by Lifestyle Changes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Introduction

Diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, has rapidly become one of the most prevalent, preventable diseases worldwide. The current global prevalence of the disease is roughly 9%, impacting almost 500 million people worldwide. Diabetes substantially increases the risk of developing certain other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD)[1], which is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of CVD by elevating blood glucose, causing unfavorable changes in blood lipids, and increasing blood pressure.

In addition to pharmaceutical intervention, lifestyle changes that include diet and exercise have been investigated as interventions for the prevention and management of diabetes. In the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) trial[2], the first large, high quality trial, lifestyle modification was more effective at preventing the development of diabetes than the diabetes drug metformin over an approximately three year period. As such, this trial, the results of which are summarized in Figure 1, highlighted the potential benefit of lifestyle interventions for diabetes prevention and disease management.

Since the DPP, numerous trials have been conducted examining the effects of lifestyle modification on type 2 diabetes. This is the most recent meta-analysis to pool the trials in order to provide a clear picture of the overall literature. The present study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to assess the role of lifestyle changes in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world and increases the risk of other, potentially life-threatening chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle modification has been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes at rates that are more effective than some pharmaceutical interventions. The present study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to assess the role of lifestyle changes in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

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Other Articles in Issue #62 (December 2019)