Research has shown that losing just two to three kilograms (KGs) of weight and exercising for two years almost halves the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS) findings – the largest diabetes prevention research study in the world in the last 30 years – involved more than 1,000 people with pre-diabetes between 2011 and 2018. The research team found that support to make modest lifestyle changes, including losing two to three KGs of weight and increased physical activity over two years, reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 40 to 47 per cent.
The trial tested a simple lifestyle intervention, which helped people make small achievable lifestyle changes that led to a modest weight loss, and increases in physical activity. Importantly, these changes were sustained for at least two years, and the weight loss was not regained. These findings are significant as they show that a ‘real-world’ lifestyle programme really can make a difference in helping people reduce their risk of Type 2.
Professor Mike Sampson, NDPS Chief Investigator and Consultant in Diabetes at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), said: “We are delighted with the results of this trial, as until now no one was very sure if a real-world lifestyle programme prevented Type 2 diabetes in the pre-diabetes population we studied, as there have been no clinical trials that had shown this.
“We have now shown a significant effect in Type 2 diabetes prevention, and we can be very optimistic that even a modest weight loss, and an increase in physical activity, in real-world programmes like this have a big effect on the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.”
The results are published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal.