Intervening in Obesity and Diabetes

Severely obese type 2 diabetes patients benefit from intensive lifestyle intervention

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) With both obesity and diabetes on the rise, there is much need for treatment options that work. Exercise and healthy eating are among those options.

Severely obese people with type 2 diabetes who participated in an intensive lifestyle intervention program lost weight. They also improved other risk factors of diabetes, such as fitness, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

"Talk to your doctor about lifestyle interventions for obesity."

Jessica L. Unick, Ph.D., from The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School, and her fellow researchers wanted to see if an intensive lifestyle intervention would be an effective treatment for severely obese people with type 2 diabetes.

"Ongoing motivation is often difficult, especially for this population," says Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC-ADM, MSN, CDE, author and illustrator of Your First Year with Diabetes and DIABETease, a lighter look at the serious subject of diabetes.

The researchers compared the effects of the intervention on severely obese people to those on overweight, class I (BMI of 30 to 35), and class II (BMI of 35 to 40) obese people. Severely obese people are those with a body mass index (BMI) - a measure of body fat using height and weight - of 40 or more.

The intensive intervention program was designed to improve weight loss and lower the risk of heart disease. The researchers also wanted to see how well participants stuck to the intervention program.

Dr. Unick and colleagues saw that severely obese patients lost much more weight than overweight, class I, or class II obese patients. All four groups had similar improvements to heart disease and diabetes risk factors - which include fitness, physical activity, LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol), triglycerides (fat), blood pressure, and blood sugar.

Attendance at the lifestyle intervention treatment sessions very good among all four weight groups.

According to the authors, these results suggest that behavioral weight loss programs should be considered as an effective treatment for severely obese people with type 2 diabetes.

Garnero - who was not involved in the study - adds, "Diabetes educators are poised to facilitate breaking down barriers to physical activity and can certainly help people tap into their individual motivation."

The results of this study - which is part of the Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) trial - are published in Diabetes Care.

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Review Date: 
October 5, 2011
Last Updated:
October 7, 2011