weight management workplace wellness

Study: Can Weight Management Help Reverse Diabetes?

As we noted recently, while last month marked American Diabetes Month, that in no way means that the continual work to prevent and manage diabetes ends.

We’ve reported that Interactive Health has found:

  • 30-39% of Americans are estimated to be living with prediabetes
  • An estimated 90% of those with prediabetes are not aware of their risk
  • Although more effective, only 25-35% of all those at risk of prediabetes are identified through our targeted A1c testing

Among the ways a well-run workplace wellness program can help members prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes is by emphasizing (and more) the benefits of a healthy lifestyle: diet, exercise, and more.

To this point, MedPage Today reports an important piece: “Weight Management May Reverse T2D; Study participants achieved remission to non-diabetic state.”

The piece is based on a new study published in Lancet: “Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes (DiRECT): an open-label, cluster-randomised trial.” Their goal: “Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disorder that requires lifelong treatment. We aimed to assess whether intensive weight management within routine primary care would achieve remission of type 2 diabetes.”

Their methods: “We recruited individuals aged 20–65 years who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the past 6 years, had a body-mass index of 27–45 kg/m2, and were not receiving insulin. The intervention comprised withdrawal of antidiabetic and antihypertensive drugs, total diet replacement (825–853 kcal/day formula diet for 3–5 months), stepped food reintroduction (2–8 weeks), and structured support for long-term weight loss maintenance.”

MedPage reports the results: “After 12 months of intervention, 46% of participants (n=68) were able to achieve remission of type 2 diabetes versus only 4% in the control (n=6) — one of two primary study outcomes, according to Michael E. J. Lean, MD, of the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and colleagues.”

“Such intervention led to nearly a quarter of participants reaching a 15 kg (33.1 lbs) or greater weight loss (n=36), which was the study’s other primary endpoint, while none of the control participants achieved such a weight loss during the year.”

As the researchers wrote in Lancet: “Our findings show that, at 12 months, almost half of participants achieved remission to a non-diabetic state and off antidiabetic drugs. Remission of type 2 diabetes is a practical target for primary care.”

According to MedPage, Dr. Lean stated in a press release: “Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for 6 years, putting the disease into remission is feasible. In contrast to other approaches, we focus on the need for long-term maintenance of weight loss through diet and exercise and encourage flexibility to optimise individual results.”

Another note from MedPage: “The Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) also found that remission of type 2 diabetes was more prevalent among those who lost more weight across participants:”

  • Weight gainers: 0% achieved remission (0/76 participants)
  • 0-5 kg weight loss (0-11 lbs): 7% (6/89)
  • 5-10 kg (11-22 lbs): 34% (19/56)
  • 10-15 kg (22-33.1 lbs): 57% (16/28)
  • 15+ kg (33.1 lbs): 86% (31/36)