Intensive Weight-Loss Intervention Associated With Increased Likelihood of Partial Remission From Diabetes, Although Improvement in Rate Modest

December 21, 2012

CHICAGO, Ill. – Dec. 19, 2012 – Among overweight adults, participation in an intensive lifestyle intervention (that included counseling sessions and targets to reduce caloric intake and increase physical activity) was associated with a greater likelihood of partial remission of type 2 diabetes, however the absolute remission rates were modest, according to a study in the December 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Diabetes traditionally has been considered a progressive, incurable condition wherein the best case scenario after diagnosis is tight metabolic and risk factor management to forestall vascular and neuropathic complications,” according to background information in the article. Some bariatric surgery studies have suggested that many diabetes cases among obese patients can be resolved. “Patients diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes frequently ask their physicians whether their condition is reversible, and some physicians may provide hopeful advice that lifestyle change can normalize glucose levels,” the authors write. “However, the rate of remission of type 2 diabetes that may be achieved using non-surgical approaches has not been reported.”

The research team conducted the study to examine the association of an intensive lifestyle intervention with frequency of partial and complete remission of type 2 diabetes. The study consisted of an ancillary observational analysis of a 4-year randomized controlled trial (baseline visit, August 2001-April 2004; last follow-up, April 2008) comparing an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) with a diabetes support and education control condition (DSE). The study included 4,503 U.S. adults with body mass index of 25 or higher and type 2 diabetes.

Co-authors of the study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are Lynne Wagenknecht, Dr.P.H., Haiying Chen, Ph.D., and Alain Bertoni, M.D.

The complete news release from the Journal of the American Medical Association is available here.

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