NEW YORK -- April 2, 2014 -- Many research studies have shown that lifestyle interventions, such as exercise programmes or weight loss, in people with impaired glucose tolerance can prevent progression to overt type 2 diabetes. However, until now, there has been a lack of high quality, randomised controlled trial evidence to prove that lifestyle interventions prevent deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as myocardial infarctions (MIs) and stroke, in these people.

The risk of death from all-causes and CVD among people with type 2 diabetes is more than twice that of people of a similar age without diabetes. Logically, if lifestyle interventions reduce the risk of diabetes they should also reduce the excess risk of death, particularly from cardiovascular disease. However, without proof that lifestyle interventions will lead long-term health benefits such as reducing death rates in high-risk people, it is difficult for doctors to recommend it to their patients as an effective preventive therapy.

In new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Guangwei Li, MD, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China, and colleagues present the results from the 23-year follow up of the Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study, which showed that people in China with impaired glucose tolerance who were randomised to lifestyle interventions had significantly reduced death rates from CVD and all-causes compared with those patients randomised to the control arm.

The investigators enrolled 438 patients assigned to intervention clinics, and 138 patients were assigned to control clinics. The study intervention lasted for 6 years, and patients were then followed up for 23 years.

At the end of the follow-up period, cumulative incidence of death from CVD was 11.9% in the lifestyle intervention group versus 19.6% in the control group, and death from all causes was 28.1% and 38.4%, respectively.

SOURCE: The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology
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