Diabetes Prevention Program
The DPP's striking results tell us that millions people at risk for type 2 diabetes can use diet, exercise, and behavior modification to avoid the disease. The DPP also suggests that metformin is effective in delaying the onset of diabetes.
Participants in the lifestyle intervention group -- those receiving intensive counseling on effective diet, exercise, and behavior modification -- reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58%. This finding was true across all participating ethnic groups and for both men and women. Lifestyle changes worked particularly well for participants aged 60 and older, reducing their risk by 71%. About 5% of the lifestyle intervention group developed diabetes each year during the study period, compared with 11% in those who did not get the intervention. Researchers say that weight loss -- achieved through better eating habits and exercise -- reduces the risk of diabetes by improving the ability of the body to use insulin and process glucose.
Participants taking metformin reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 31%. Metformin was effective for both men and women, but it was least effective in people aged 45 and older. Metformin was most effective in people aged 25 to 44 years old and in those with a body mass index of 35 or higher (at least 60 pounds overweight). About 7.8% of the metformin group developed diabetes each year during the study, compared with 11% of the group receiving the placebo.
Future Diabetes Research
Researchers have since further analyzed the DPP results to try to determine the relative contribution of diet and exercise to the reduction in diabetes. The DPP web site can provide research updates.