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Lifestyle changes reduce diabetes risk

Lifestyle changes in eating habits, exercise patterns can help reduce abdominal obesity and development of the metabolic syndrome.

Lifestyle changes reduce diabetes risk

Changes in the lifestyle such as eating habits, exercise patterns can help reduce abdominal obesity and development of the metabolic syndrome. A cluster of diabetes risk factors including elevated waist circumference, blood pressure, triglyceride cholesterol, and blood sugar, as well as low levels of high-density lipoproteins ('good' cholesterol) are collectively know as the metabolic syndrome. To anaylse the role of individualised counselling for people with a risk of diabetes, Finnish researchers followed 522 men and women who were 55 years old on an average. All participants were overweight with a body mass index of around 31 and had an impaired glucose tolerance. They were provided specialised counselling on diet and exercise patterns and were made to improve their dietary intake of whole-grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy and meat products with an aim to reduce at least five percent of their body weight. They spent a minimum of 30 minutes each day for walking, jogging, swimming and other exercises. It was found that after a period of around 4 years, there was a 15 percent reduction in both the risk of metabolic syndrome and abdominal obesity among overweight middle-age men and women who sincerely followed the weight loss guidelines. On the other hand, those who followed a usual diet and exercise pattern did not experience any decrease in abdominal obesity and the metabolic syndrome in these people decreased by 4 percent only. The above results substantiate that people who receive diet and exercise advice and are regular with annual check-ups can reduce their risk of developing diabetes to a considerable extent. However, longer follow-up studies are needed to confirm if these reductions can be achieved and maintained in other groups with the metabolic syndrome and if such reductions might limit the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes Care,
April 2008
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