A recently published review found evidence that organized diet and exercise programs designed to prevent diabetes may truly be helpful in delaying or preventing the disease. The report was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and reported by Reuters.
The findings of this study on diabetes prevention programs are positive and, hopefully, encourage those at risk for the disease to pursue lifestyle changes through prevention programs readily available in their own community.
While it is well known that maintaining a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine can be beneficial for those who are at risk of developing diabetes, simply telling a pre-diabetic patient to do these things rarely proves successful. Instead, this study looked at community and group programs that encourage adherence to these positive lifestyle changes. The study was completed by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, which is a non-profit group of public health officials and experts in disease prevention. The Task Force aims to develop recommendations for community health practices.
The analysis reviewed 53 studies that included a total of 66 different programs intended to promote healthy diet and physical activity management and spanned from 1991 to 2015. The programs analyzed in the study included consulting, coaching, and support through various meetings and continual communication over a period of at least three months. Some of the specialists involved in the programs included physiotherapists, nutritionists, and diet or exercise program coordinators and managers.
Each of the programs targeted those who were at risk for diabetes and had elevated blood sugar levels that were just below the threshold to be considered diabetic. The community-based programs were found to have significant success in lowering patient blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as helping with weight loss. The programs were also noted to be quite cost-effective, as half the participants paid less than $653 for a program and saw significant health benefits as a result. The results of the study may stimulate programs of this type in other locations and encourage participation as a preventive measure for pre-diabetics and other at-risk patients.
Chronic diseases like diabetes can be debilitating and treatment options can be expensive. Diabetes can often be prevented with proper care and management, but some factors are out of the control of the individual who may be at risk. Visit the CDC’s registry of diabetes prevention programs for information on programs near you.