Diabetes workplace wellness

To Address Diabetes, Lifestyle Interventions Matter, Too

We’ve reported frequently on prediabetes (for example here, here and here).  As screenings become an important aspect in identifying the disease, it also remains important to focus on lifestyle interventions as well.

The challenge, it seems, is one where a well-run workplace wellness program could help: Intervention programs can be challenging for individuals to maintain on their own.

One study that looks at the positive impact lifestyle interventions can make was published by the American Psychological Association. The report, titled “Evidence-based lifestyle interventions for obesity and Type 2 diabetes” states: “The majority of individuals with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) are overweight or obese, and this excess adiposity negatively impacts cardiovascular risk and contributes to challenges in disease management. Treatment of obesity by behavioral lifestyle intervention, within the context of diabetes, produces broad and clinically meaningful health improvements, and recent studies demonstrate long-term sustained weight management success with behavioral lifestyle interventions.”

Another review article finds similar results. The piece, published by the Journal of Diabetes Research and titled “Lifestyle Interventions to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Economic Evaluation Studies,” reviewed 20 studies with the goal to “summarize key findings of economic evaluations of lifestyle interventions for the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in high-risk subjects.”

The conclusion: “Lifestyle interventions for the primary prevention of diabetes are cost-effective. Such interventions should be further promoted as sound investment in the fight against diabetes.”

Helping individuals make lifestyle interventions can occur society-wide, within a company, or even person-by-person.

A recent MedPage Today post states: “Therapeutic trials to prevent progression to diabetes showed that some – but by no means most – cases of diabetes could be prevented. Lifestyle intervention trials resulted in a 37% relative risk reduction in developing diabetes, cutting the risk from 239 out of 1,000 in the control group to 151 out of 1,000 in the treatment group during the trial period.”

Indeed, Norman Waugh, a Professor in Public Health at the University of Warwick (UK), recommends “public health measures targeted at the whole population at risk.” MedPage states these include “taxing sugary beverages and encouraging physical activity by supporting bicycle lanes separate from traffic.”

Dr. Victor M. Montori of the Mayo Clinic states in the piece: “The scale of diabetes is huge and the proportion of people who live one step before that diagnosis is very large… Individuals who choose to live more actively and eat healthier meals do better and delay diabetes.”

He continued: “The response should be massive in scale and persistent in time directed at the determinants of the environments, at the environments themselves, and at the lifestyles that emerge as people adapt to those environments. These changes should make healthier lifestyles the easy default.”