Losing Weight Benefits Diabetes Patients


More proof that losing weight helps diabetes patients

There is enough medical evidence to support the idea that losing weight benefits diabetes patients. Diabetes is one of the easiest diseases to prevent by controlling diet and exercise. The January issue of Health Affairs explores four different reports that all point to the same conclusion. People who are inactive and overweight tend to have more complications from diabetes.

So what are you waiting for?I love the cartoon my doctor has on the wall in the examining room. A man is sitting in his doctors office and the doctor says. “When will you schedule time to take care of yourself? After the funeral?”

Losing Weight Benefits Diabetes Patients

In the United States almost 26 million individuals are affected by diabetes and it is estimated that over the next 10 years 40 million more individuals in the country could develop diabetes. Furthermore, an additional 100 million people could develop an insidious prediabetic condition that frequently leads to diabetes.

Often being overweight or obese triggers the condition. According to increasing scientific evidence, fitness programs and weight loss can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from developing. However, do lifestyle interventions save money in the long term and do they lead to maintained weight loss?

Several aspects of this complicated issue as well as the hurdles that need to be tackled in order to control diabetes are explored in the January issue of Health Affairs. One report in this month’s issue by Deneen Vojta and colleagues at UnitedHealth Group suggests that by the year 2021 the increase in new cases could add an estimated $512 billion to the country’s yearly health care costs.

The New York State Health Foundation, UnitedHealth Foundation and Novo Nordisk supported this issue of Health Affairs.

In this month’s issue, four reports reveal scientific evidence indicating that lifestyle interventions can effectively prevent or inhibit diabetes:According to an examination by Xiaohui Zhuo and Ann Albright at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their team, it would require an efficient use of resources to establish a national program of community-level interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Using a computer simulation model, the researchers estimate the costs and benefits of such a nationwide program. According to their estimates, such an intervention could prevent of delay approximately 885,000 individuals developing type 2 diabetes within 25 years, saving the U.S. health care system an estimated $5.7 billion.

Several human trials demonstrate that individuals who are seriously overweight or obese who lose between 5% to 7% of body weight can prevent progression of prediabetes to diabetes, say Deneen Vojta and colleagues at UnitedHealth Group. Although, programs designed to help individuals lose weight have not been executed on a large scale.

They conclude that in order to prevent the situation from worsening, the country should enroll high-risk individuals in proven models that encourage maintaining lifelong fitness habits and weight loss. Recently community-based interventions designed to help individuals at risk of developing diabetes follow a healthier eating habits and regular physical activity were launched by UnitedHealth Group in collaboration with the YMCA of the USA as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, UnitedHealth Group established retail pharmacy-based interventions across communities to help those with diabetes choose healthier behaviors.

In order to determine if cheaper interventions based on the Diabetes Prevention Program encourage individuals to lose weight in real-life settings, Mohammed K. Ali and his team at Emory University carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of 28 investigations. They discovered that the average participant lost approximately 4% of baseline body weight (an amount that can offer protection against diabetes) after 1 year of enrollment in lifestyle intervention programs.

The team found that regardless of whether the program relied on lower-cost lay staff trained to deliver healthy eating and fitness advice, or higher-salaried professionals – the weight loss was the same. According to the researchers the most successful programs were those that were structured and motivate higher session attendance.

I think Americans are a little numb to the diabetes issue. They hear repeated messages about eating better and losing weight but the messages are perceived as being for other people. Even when a doctor enters into the picture and gives a strong message that losing weight benefits diabetes patients, if there is a response it is usually only temporary and then old habits return.

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