According to a recent report issued by a non-profit group interested in public health and disease prevention, diabetes can be prevented through radical lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise programs.
The Community Preventive Services Task Force reviewed as many as 53 studies about programs promoting healthier diets combined with regular physical activity. The studies included in the review were conducted between 1991 and 2015. The review was published earlier this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The authors said that they had found a strong body of evidence supporting those programs as an effective way of staving off diabetes in people at a high risk.
“If you exercise and eat better, you’ll reduce your risk of developing diabetes. But if you simply tell somebody to eat better and exercise, that does not work,”
noted Dr. Patrick L. Remington, co-author of the review paper.
Scientists learned that an effective way of keeping diabetes at bay was for patients at risk to work with trained people or health care professionals for at least three months on their programs. The professionals should provide coaching and counseling over the healthiest lifestyle choices regarding diet and physical activity.
Some studies recommended that the trainers should be from various fields such as nutrition and physiotherapy and try and tailor diet and weight-loss exercise programs based on each individual’s needs.
Most of the programs were catered for adolescents and adults diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition that heralds type 2 diabetes because of high blood sugar levels that are not high enough to be considered symptoms of diabetes.
Dr. Ethan Balk, a professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and lead author of the review paper, explained that diabetes usually affects people that are obese or overweight and lead a sedentary life.
The studies also showed that community-based programs substantially helped participants at risk of diabetes to trim down extra pounds, reduce blood sugar levels and lower bad cholesterol levels. Additionally, no harms were detected on the long run with those programs.
Researchers also found that the programs can lead to significant cost cuts. Half of people involved in the programs paid less than $700 for each program which had discounts four groups and primary care. Dr. Remington said that on the short term maybe people won’t see any cost savings but on the long run the programs would pay off under the guise of “many years of healthy life gained.”
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