Diabetes Genetic Risk?

Diabetes prevention behavior did not change after genetic risk counseling

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) If you are overweight or obese, you may be at risk of diabetes. Eating healthy and regular exercise can help you lose weight and prevent diabetes. Can knowing your genetic risk also prevent diabetes?

After being taught about their genetic risk of diabetes, people did not become more driven to change their lifestyle to prevent diabetes.

"Lose weight to lower your risk of diabetes."

Obesity is not the only thing that raises your risk of diabetes; your genes also can increase your risk.

Richard W. Grant, MD, MPH, of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, and colleagues wanted to see if people would change their behavior to prevent diabetes after being tested for genetic risk and taught how to prevent diabetes.

A total of 108 overweight patients took part in the study. Some patients were tested for genetic risk of diabetes while others were not. Of those tested, 42 had a higher genetic risk of diabetes and 32 had a lower risk. The remaining 34 patients were not tested.

The researchers found genetic risk testing and counseling did not change patients attitudes, whether they had a higher or lower genetic risk of diabetes.

Past research has shown that losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can lower risk of diabetes by more than 50 percent.

Even after being told of their genetic risk and taking part in a diabetes prevention program, only 33 of 108 (30.6 percent) of the study's participants lost 5 percent or more of their body weight.

There were few behavioral differences between patients who were tested for genetic risk and those who were not.

That is, patients who were tested were not more likely to be motivated, to attend diabetes prevention sessions or to lose more weight than those who were not tested.

According to the authors, genetic risk counseling does not have much effect on patients' will to change their behavior to prevent diabetes.

This study was published August 28 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

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Review Date: 
August 28, 2012
Last Updated:
September 8, 2012