The Diabetes Prevention Program, DPP.
The Diabetes Prevention Program was a randomized clinical trial that involved 27 diabetes centers across the United States. Additionally it included over 3000 people who were 25 years of age or older at high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. High risk individuals were determined due to obesity, family history for Type 2 Diabetes and elevated glucose levels. Half the participants were Caucasian and half were minorities.
The goal was to test the effectiveness of strategies to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. More specifically the study goal was targeted at discovering whether either diet and exercise or the oral diabetes drug metformin could prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in people at high risk.
There were three study groups in the DPP:
- Group 1 had intensive training in diet, exercise, and behavior modification. This was called the Lifestyle Intervention Group.
- Group 2 had 850 mg of metformin twice a day with diet and exercise information but no intensive one-on-one counseling.
- Group3 received a placebo and diet with diet and exercise information but no intensive one-on-one counseling.
- Group 4 received the medication troglitazone. This group was discontinued due to side effects of troglitazone.
The study length was approximately 3 years with a 3 to 5 year follow up, and the results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study conclusively found that people at high risk for Type 2 Diabetes can prevent the onset of the disease by making changes in their diet and increasing their level of physical activity. Some medications may delay the development of diabetes, but diet and exercise worked better. The Lifestyle Intervention Group resulted in a 5-10% reduction in body weight, yielding a 58% reduction in diabetes. Some individuals had a return to normal levels of blood glucose. Individuals in the metformin with standard care group reduced their risk for getting Type 2 Diabetes by 31 percent.
A final note: the exercise goal of the Lifestyle Intervention Group was only 150 minutes per week. That’s a little less than 30 minutes, 7 days a week.
Conquering Diabetes: A Complete Program for Prevention and Treatment by M.D., Anne Peters