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Healthy living lowers diabetes risk

People at high risk of becoming diabetic can reduce their chances of developing the disease by eating healthily and exercising regularly.

Making changes for a healthier lifestyle are shown to be more beneficial in preventing the disease than using the diabetes drug metformin.

American researchers extended a study to look at the long-term fortunes of a group of 3,200 people at high risk of diabetes over a period of 10 years - after completing the original Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study in 2001.

The trial involved overweight or obese adults with elevated blood sugar levels who were at high risk of type 2 diabetes.

Over a period of three years, intensive lifestyle changes including exercise, reduced calorie consumption and fat intake, and frequent contact with healthcare professionals cut the chances of developing the disease by 58%.

Another branch of the trial found that patients assigned to two daily doses of metformin, but making no lifestyle changes, had a 31% reduced risk over the same period.

The results, published online by The Lancet medical journal, showed that over 10 years lifestyle changes reduced diabetes rates by 34%. Patients treated with metformin lowered their long-term risk of the disease by 18%.

Co-researcher Dr William Knowler, from the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, said: "Sustaining even modest weight loss produced major long-term health rewards by lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and reducing other cardiovascular risk factors in people at high risk of developing diabetes."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Diabetes UK

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"More should be done to promote good healthy and affordable priced foods for all ages. Put this advertisement on all media outlets throughout the day eating unhealthily can contribute to ill health including diabetes. Advertise at times when children sit down to watch the TV I am quite sure this will have some impact on the child/ren which will then be passed on to
parents responsible for cooking" - V Henry, London