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New Find Diabetes can be prevented by organised diet and exercise programs

The Task Force found strong evidence that these programs are effective at reducing the number of new cases of diabetes.

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play (Reuters)

There has been a new recommendation which says organized diet and exercise programs can stave off diabetes for those at risk.

An independent, unpaid group of public health and prevention experts, The Community Preventive Services Task Force commissioned a review of 53 studies describing 66 combined diet and physical activity promotion programs which were done between 1991 and 2015.

The Task Force found strong evidence that these programs are effective at reducing the number of new cases of diabetes.

The diet and exercise promotion programs included providers or trained laypeople working directly with participants for at least three months, providing counseling, coaching and support over multiple sessions.

Nutritionists, physiotherapists, individually tailored diet and exercise programs and specific weight-loss goals were some of what was included in the programmes.

The programs were targeted to teens and adults with “pre-diabetes,” marked by elevated blood sugar levels that were not yet high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

In the end, the review found that community-based programs helped improve weight loss, lower blood sugar and reduce the risk for a later diabetes diagnosis.

Also, some reduced blood sugar and improved cholesterol markers, and none reported any long-term harms related to the programs.

Furthermore, the Task Force also found that these programs were cost-effective.

Lead author of the review, Dr. Ethan Balk of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island said the first step towards prevention may be a change in providers’ attitudes, noting that many doctors do not believe that diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle changes.

Next, he said "the insurance and outreach system needs to change, and training laypeople or nonphysician specialists to provide these programs should increase"

“I think that the medical community has been so influenced by long term secular trends that they’ve lost confidence in the individual to treat themselves through lifestyle changes,” Balk said.

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