Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Delaying Diabetes

Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

Delaying Diabetes

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Diet and exercise can delay diabetes for at least a decade, and those lifestyle changes work better than a popular drug.

In the late 1990s, the Diabetes Prevention Program randomly assigned, to one of three groups, roughly 3,200 people who were at risk for diabetes because they were overweight or obese and had fasting blood sugar levels that were elevated (at least 95 mg/dL) but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes (126 mg/dL or higher).

Those assigned to the intensive lifestyle group were encouraged to lose at least 7 percent of their body weight and to exercise for at least 2 1/2 hours a week. The drug group was given the oral diabetes drug metformin (850 milligrams twice a day), and the placebo group was given lookalike but inactive pills.

In 2001, the researchers halted the study one year earlier than planned because the results were so clear: The risk of diabetes was 58 percent lower in the intensive lifestyle group than in the placebo group. …

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