Lifestyle interventions have a strong impact on consumers with prediabetes, study finds

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Experts say adopting a consistent exercise routine is important for long-term health outcomes

A new study conducted by researchers from the German Center for Diabetes Research explored some of the ways consumers with prediabetes can improve their health

According to their findings, lifestyle interventions, including following a healthy diet and engaging in a regular exercise routine, are important ways for prediabetics to boost their health. This was especially true for consumers who had the highest risk of developing diabetes. The researchers said intensifying these lifestyle interventions can help improve blood sugar levels and overall cardiometabolic health. 

Finding the right lifestyle intervention

The researchers had over 1,100 prediabetic participants involved in the study. They were divided into either low-risk or high-risk groups depending on their insulin secretion, liver fat content, and insulin sensitivity. 

High-risk participants were divided even further to receive either typical lifestyle interventions (LIs) or more intense interventions that call for more exercise. Participants in the low-risk group were assigned to either a typical intervention plan or a control group with no treatments. 

The study showed that making long-term lifestyle changes was beneficial for the participants. High-risk pre-diabetics benefited the most from adopting more intense interventions, which involved double the amount of recommended exercise. At the end of the study, participants in the high-risk group had better cardiometabolic health, blood glucose levels, and liver fat content. Participants in the low-risk group who followed the traditional lifestyle interventions also experienced improvements to their metabolic health. 

“After three years, glucose tolerance was more likely to normalize in participants with conventional LI than those in the control group,” said researcher Hans-Ulrich Häring. 

Moving forward, the researchers hope these findings allow health care providers to better identify patients who have the highest risk of becoming diabetic. Starting them on a more intense lifestyle intervention plan is more likely to yield better health outcomes long-term. 

“Our study results show that an individualized LI based on the risk phenotype is beneficial for diabetes prevention,” said researcher Andreas Fritsche. “For successful prevention, we need to identify high-risk patients in the future and focus on providing them with an intensified lifestyle intervention.” 

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