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Diabetes Prevention Programs and Follow-Ups can be Effective

Update Date: Jun 16, 2014 11:15 AM EDT

Prevention programs can be highly effective in getting people to adopt healthy lifestyle changes in order to reduce their risks of developing certain diseases. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of following up on people who were apart of diabetes prevention programs. The team found that even after an average of 15 years later, diabetes prevention programs can still be effective in reducing one's risk of being diagnosed with the chronic illness.

For this study, the researchers analyzed recent data compiled by the Diabetes Prevention Programs Outcomes Study (DPPOS), which was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The DPPOS was created as an extension to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DDP), which found that two treatment plans were capable of lowering one's risk of developing diabetes. The DDP was started in 2001 and included a lifestyle program and a medication program using metformin, which is one of the most common treatments for diabetes. The lifestyle program was focused on teaching participants ways to eat better and exercise more. The DPPOS examined the long-term effects of these two intervention methods.

"What we're finding is that we can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease, through lifestyle intervention or with metformin, over a very long period of time," said David M. Nathan, MD, Chairman of the DPP/DPPOS and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School reported in the press release. "After the initial randomized treatment phase in DPP, all participants were offered lifestyle intervention and the rates of diabetes development fell in the metformin and former placebo groups, leading to a reduction in the treatment group differences over time. However, the lifestyle intervention and metformin are still quite effective at delaying, if not preventing, type 2 diabetes."

The researchers calculated that after an average of 15 years, participants from the lifestyle treatment group and the metformin group had a 27 and 17 percent lowered risk of getting type 2 diabetes respectively. The researchers reported that the successes of these types of intervention programs could help prevent the number of diabetes cases from rising.

The study's findings were presented at the American Diabetes Association's 74th Scientific Sessions.

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