Weight loss is the key factor in reducing diabetes
risk for high-risk, overweight individuals, a
new study shows.
Participants in the intensive lifestyle intervention
portion of the Diabetes Prevention Program, which
involved cutting fat and calories with the goal
of reducing by weight by 7 percent, reduced their
likelihood of developing diabetes by 58 percent
over a 3-year period, report Dr. Richard F. Hamman
at the program's coordinating center at George
Washington University in Rockville, Maryland and
At the beginning of the study all of the participants
were overweight and had an impaired ability to
process glucose, putting them at high risk of
Another goal of the intervention was to get participants
to exercise moderately for at least 2.5 hours
weekly, the researchers add in their report published
in the September issue of Diabetes Care.
Hamman and his team looked for factors that were
the most important in reducing diabetes risk --
weight loss, exercise or dietary fat reduction.
Participants' cut their fat intake to less than
25 percent of their total calories, and reduced
the amount of total calories if their weight-loss
goals were not met by fat reduction alone.
Weight loss was the most important factor in
preventing diabetes, while cutting fat and exercising
helped participants lose weight, and exercise
helped them keep the weight off, the researchers
"Interventions to reduce the risk of diabetes
should aim at weight loss as the primary determinant
of success," the researchers conclude.