Minimal Weight Loss Can Help Promote Healthy Blood Sugars

Losing around 4.5 to 6.5 pounds of weight and increasing physical activity over two years can help support healthy blood sugar levels for those diagnosed with prediabetes, according to recent research.

During the past few decades, several randomized, controlled clinical trials have shown the important role of diet and exercise in supporting healthy blood sugar levels. However, we still lack trial evidence for clear and effective type 2 diabetes prevention strategies for many of the high-risk glycemic groups.

The findings from this new study, the largest diabetes prevention research study globally in the last 30 years, show how providing support to help people with prediabetes to make small changes to lifestyle, diet, and exercise can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by almost half. 

The clinical trial ran over eight years and involved over 1,000 people with prediabetes at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The most significant aspect of the study was the maintenance of the changes over a period of two years, with the weight loss not being regained.

The parallel, 3-arm, group-based, randomized clinical trial was conducted with up to 46 months of follow-up from mid-2011 to January 2019, and 12,778 people were screened and randomized so those with a high-risk glycemic category could be selected. The high-risk individuals either had an elevated fasting blood glucose level or an elevated glycated hemoglobin level with a high fasting plasma glucose level. 

Trained volunteers, diabetes prevention mentors, and other health workers provided theory-based lifestyle interventions, up to 21 maintenance sessions, and measured markers such as body mass index, weight, and blood glucose levels.

The results showed that losing around two or three kilos (4.5 – 6.5 lbs.) and engaging in some physical activity over two years can reduce risk by 40-47% in all glycemic, age, and social deprivation groups at low intervention costs of $153 per participant.  

The study shows that inexpensive, longer-term strategies may be effective for people to support healthy blood sugar levels for people with prediabetes.

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