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What Is The Diabetes Prevention Program?

The Habits Diabetes Coach is based on the Diabetes Prevention Program.

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was a major clinical research study conducted in the US. The aim of the study was to determine whether modest weight loss through diet changes and increased physical activity could prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in study participants. The participants of the DPP study were all overweight and their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels were higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes, which is known as prediabetes.

The results of the DPP showed that although taking metformin reduced the risk of developing diabetes it did so less drastically when compared with embracing a healthier diet and increased physical activity.

Read More: What Is Type 2 Diabetes And Who Is At Risk

The DPP involved diving participants from 27 clinical centers across the United States into different treatment groups. The first group was called the lifestyle intervention group and they were “ treated” by going through intensive diet training and physical activity. Their goal was to eat  less fat and fewer calories and exercise for a total of 150 minutes a week, through which would  lose 7 percent of their body weight and then maintain that weight loss.

The second group was instructed to take 850 mg of metformin twice a day. The third group were given placebo pills instead of metformin. Whereas the second and third groups also received information about diet modification and exercise, it was not done in the intensive  manner that as was done for the first group. A fourth group was given troglitazone (Rezulin), however this group was  discontinued after researchers discovered that troglitazone can cause serious liver damage.

Read More: Monitoring Your Glucose

All 3,234 participants in the DPP study were overweight with prediabetes, which are well-known risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, 45% of the participants were from different minor ethnicities in the US -African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander-at increased risk of developing diabetes.

Results of the DPP

Results from the DPP show  that high-risk people can delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and calories.

Weight loss and physical activity lower the risk of diabetes by improving the body's ability to use insulin and process glucose by 58% as compared to Metformin which reduced the risk of diabetes by 31% and was least effective for people over 45 years and around 60 pounds overweight.

Lifestyle changes worked particularly well for participants aged 60 and older, reducing their risk by 71%. 

Read More: 6 Ways To Get More Active With A Busy Routine



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