Researchers at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom recently published in the Journal of Public Health that a national program focused on the prevention of Type 2 diabetes in individuals at high risk of developing the disease has yielded promising preliminary results. The study is entitled “Development of a lifestyle intervention using the MRC framework for diabetes prevention in people with impaired glucose regulation”.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes affecting 90 to 95% of the individuals diagnosed with the disease. Patients with type 2 diabetes do not make enough insulin or do not use it properly, leading to insulin resistance and eventually to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). Insulin is a hormone essential to control blood sugar levels and convert sugar, starches and other foods into energy.
“Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where the body cannot keep blood glucose levels within a healthy range and can cause devastating complications. The most efficient way to address the problem of diabetes and its complications is to prevent it from developing – taking a proactive rather than reactive approach.” explained the study’s senior author Dr. Melanie Davies in a press release.
Based on this knowledge, a team led by Dr. Davies at the Leicester Diabetes Centre developed a face-to-face program entitled “Let’s Prevent Diabetes” in order to cover the risks and implications of developing Type 2 diabetes, as well as the lifestyle changes than can be adopted to prevent the disease’s progression. The program was developed using the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) framework and delivered by structured education.
In the study, researchers evaluated the “Let’s Prevent Diabetes” program in a large-scale, randomized, controlled clinical trial (ISRCTN80605705) with nearly 900 individuals from a multi-ethnic population in the United Kingdom experiencing impaired glucose regulation. The trial was conducted for a period of three years and has recently been completed. As part of the program, participants were encouraged to self-manage their impaired glucose regulation through simple, visual and non-technical language support.
The team is currently analyzing the data obtained and expects to present it at international congresses later this year. However, a preliminary analysis of the outcome suggests a promising result for the “Let’s Prevent Diabetes” program.
“Qualitative and quantitative data suggested that intervention resulted in beneficial short-term behavior change such as healthier eating patterns, improved health beliefs and greater participant motivation and empowerment. We also demonstrated that recruitment strategy and data collection methods were feasible.” concluded the research team.
“The early evidence is very promising because, as the only Type 2 diabetes prevention program specifically developed in the UK, Let’s Prevent Diabetes has the potential to really make a difference.” added Dr. Davies.
The researchers expect that their program could be transferred in the future into a real-world setting within the National Health Service primary healthcare.