Stopping Diabetes in Its Tracks — Before It Starts

Type 2 diabetes risk lowered in prediabetes patients who received health coaching on diet, exercise, sleep and stress

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Many Americans are on the path to developing diabetes, but it’s not too late to make a U-turn.

A recent study found that people at high risk for type 2 diabetes may be able to avoid the disease through lifestyle changes.

For this study, more than 500 patients enrolled in a health coaching program for 12 months. They received training, advice and education on healthy eating, exercise, managing stress and sleep.

Almost half of the patients with prediabetes had reduce their risk of diabetes after only six months.

“This is important because prediabetes is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Mariam Kashani, DNP, of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, in a press statement.

Prediabetes occurs when a patient has high blood sugar levels. Patients with prediabetes is at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes within five years if they do not improve their health.

Type 2 diabetes raises the risk of other serious health problems like heart disease.

For this study, these researchers looked at data from 508 patients in a heart health program. One-fifth of the patients had prediabetes.

The patients received a health assessment and 14 health coaching sessions.

Researchers examined how the sessions affected patients’ blood sugar levels and other risk factors.

They found that 49 percent of the patients with prediabetes had normal blood sugar levels after only six months. Also, their average body mass index (BMI) had decreased by 1 point. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

These researchers concluded that stress management was a key part of the health coaching.

“When we are stressed, our bodies release extra glucose and when we are tired, we tend to make poor food choices,” Dr. Kashani explained.

She added, “We meet patients where they are in their lives, and we emphasize small steps and practical tools."

The study will be presented March 14 at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer-reviewed.

The project was funded by the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
March 4, 2015
Last Updated:
March 5, 2015