Pre-Diabetic? Work a Program That Works for You

Lifestyle modification programs modeled after DPP trials achieved weight loss, better metabolic health

Type 2 diabetes is strongly associated with obesity, and in a country where 34 percent of youth will eat fast food today the chances of eradicating diabetes soon aren’t good. However, new research suggests that certain prevention strategies may make the crucial difference in the fight against diabetes.

According to a press release issued by Emory Health Sciences, a new study found that lifestyle modification programs modeled after diabetes prevention programs (DPP) trials helped patients not only lose weight, but also achieve better metabolic health--healthier blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

To conduct the study, researchers gathered data from 44 published studies with almost 9,000 adults participating in DPP through their communities, a clinic or online media. During the analysis researchers found that the prevention programs could be successfully run in a non-academic and non-clinical setting.

"There are a number of studies that have shown that weight loss is achievable through DPP programs," lead researcher Mohammed K. Ali, MD, MSc, MBA, said in the press release. "Our study goes further by estimating the aggregate metabolic changes that can be achieved."

Dr. Ali is an associate professor at the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory. Dr. Ali’s research team joined forces with researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to complete the research.

They also found that participants in the 44 studies lost less weight than the original DPP trial participants, but experienced similar improvements in glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Studies with a maintenance component--such as staying in touch with participants after program sessions were completed--were associated with greater benefits.

This study is especially significant when considering that the CDC estimates that by the year 2050, about 25 percent of the US adult population will have diabetes. This study also has implications for government-subsidized healthcare policies.

"Our study has relevance for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) which announced in March 2016 their intention to cover diabetes prevention programs for the Medicare population that are at high risk for diabetes,” Dr. Ali said in the press release. “According to our findings, there is no difference in outcomes based on who or where DPP programs are delivered, and improvement in other cardio-metabolic factors suggests the program may be especially cost-effective. These types of interventions can yield great results for diabetes prevention if distributed nationally."

The full study was published in PLOS Medicine. It was funded by the CDC.

The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.