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Diet, Exercise Thwart Diabetes: Study
Date:10/28/2009

Lifestyle changes really do work to prevent type 2, experts say

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Diet and exercise can keep diabetes at bay for a decade, cutting the risk for the disease by more than a third in the most susceptible people, a new study finds.

About 11 percent of U.S. adults (24 million) have diabetes, mostly type 2, which is linked to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. In addition, 57 million overweight adults have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, which raise the risk of a heart attack or stroke and the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

But new research, published in the Oct. 29 online edition of The Lancet, shows that losing weight and exercising can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes more effectively than the prescription drug metformin or a placebo.

"Interventions that result in weight loss lower the risk of diabetes, and that lower risk appears to persist for a long period of time," said study author Dr. William C. Knowler of the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

For people who are at high risk of getting diabetes, losing weight "is clearly to be recommended," he said. In addition, using a drug like metformin may also benefit people unable to lose weight through exercise and diet alone, he said.

For the diabetes prevention study, 3,234 overweight or obese adults with elevated blood sugar levels were randomly assigned to either lifestyle changes or metformin to control their blood sugar, or a placebo.

After 10 years, 2,766 remained in the trial, and those taking metformin saw an 18 percent reduction in their rate of developing diabetes, compared with those on placebo.

But those who had made lifestyle changes -- reducing caloric and fat intake and exercising at least 150 minutes a week -- reduced their risk of getting diabetes by 34 percent compared with those on placebo
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