Diet and exercise programs are cost-effective, help restore blood sugar to normal levels and reduce a number of other diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors, including being overweight and having high blood pressure and cholesterol.
These were the conclusions the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) came to after overseeing a review of published evidence on whether diet and physical activity programs really help prevent or control type 2 diabetes.
The review – which covers the clinical and economic effectiveness of such programs – was conducted by panels of government, academic, policy and practice-based scientists, who report their findings in a cluster of studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
As a result of the review – which provides “strong evidence of effectiveness” both in terms of clinical results and value for money – the CPSTF recommend combined diet and physical activity programs for people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The task force define being at risk for type 2 diabetes as having abnormally high levels of blood glucose but not high enough to be classed as type 2 diabetes. Classification can also be assessed using other validated predictive risk scores, they note.
Effective programs for reducing type 2 diabetes risk
The CPSTF say effective programs that promote diet changes and increased physical activity to reduce risk for type 2 diabetes have a number of elements, including:
- Trainers who work directly with participants in clinics and communities for at least 3 months
- Counseling, coaching and extended support
- Several taught sessions on how to change diet, increase physical activity
- Sessions delivered in person or via email or online, or all of these