Eat Healthy, Be Active: New Recommendations to prevent Diabetes

Cancer Diabetes Venn

A major new review of the evidence concludes that for the 86 million Americans at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, individuals can reduce their risk of this disease by participating in a program that combines both diet and physical activity. That also means lower risk for many cancers.

Reports in the past few years have found that having type 2 diabetes increases the risk of several cancers, such as liver, pancreas, endometrium, colon/rectum, breast and bladder.

The recommendations were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and they come from the Community Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of experts. The task force found 53 studies that had programs encouraging people at risk of type 2 diabetes to improve their diet and increase their physical activity. All the programs used trained providers and lasted at least three months, with an average of about a year.

In total, there were 66 programs.Compared with those undergoing standard care, the proportion of people in these programs who developed type 2 diabetes decreased by an average of 11 percent. Eating better and exercising also improved metabolic risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease – along with cancer. Body weight also was slightly lower (average 2 percent), and there were also healthier blood sugar levels among those in the healthy eating and exercise programs. The more intensive the program, the more benefits people had

Many of these metabolic factors are also related to cancer risk.

full-sized VennAn accompanying editorial in the journal notes that one major challenge is that only 1 in every 13 of the 86 million Americans with prediabetes today are aware of their high risk. Health care providers should assume a greater role in performing recommended screening and linking high-risk patients with combined diet and physical activity promotion programs, writes Dr. Ronald T. Ackermann of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The systematic review by the task force was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Preventive Services Task Force.

The study was funded by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Cancer Research Fund and government agencies from European countries (see study for full list.)

Singh was supported by a training grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK007703) and a K00/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (1K99HL124321). Initial data collection for this work was supported by a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases study. See more


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    Published on July 22, 2015

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