diabetes workplace wellness

Study Reviews Role of Behavioral Changes with People with Diabetes

Helping manage diabetes — and helping address the controllable health factors that can lead to diabetes — is often part of a well-run workplace wellness program.

We recently highlighted a Benefits Pro report that outlines “5 effective ways employers can address diabetes costs.”

The report states: “To counter costs from lifestyle diseases like diabetes, employers should aim for a mix of  traditional programs, emerging methods and a supportive organizational environment. The right framework includes five effective, evidence-based ways for employers to promote workforce wellness and address diabetes-related costs.”

According to MedPage Today: “Among a majority of patients with type 2 diabetes, intensive weight loss intervention reduced the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, a post hoc analysis of the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial found.”

The study, published in The Lancet, is titled “Targeting weight loss interventions to reduce cardiovascular complications of type 2 diabetes.”

The background: “The Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) trial investigated whether long-term cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality could be reduced through a weight loss intervention among people with type 2 diabetes. Despite finding no significant reduction in cardiovascular events on average, it is possible that some subpopulations might have derived benefit. In this post-hoc analysis, we test the hypothesis that the overall neutral average treatment effect in the trial masked important heterogeneous treatment effects (HTEs) from intensive weight loss interventions.”

The results were significant for many of the efforts that are part of a well-run workplace wellness program.

Write the researchers: “Look AHEAD participants with moderately or poorly controlled diabetes (HbA1c 6·8% or higher) and subjects with well controlled diabetes (HbA1c less than 6·8%) and good self-reported health (85% of the overall study population) averted cardiovascular events from a behavioural intervention aimed at weight loss. However, 15% of participants with well controlled diabetes and poor self-reported general health experienced negative effects that rendered the overall study outcome neutral. HbA1cand a short questionnaire on general health might identify people with type 2 diabetes likely to derive benefit from an intensive lifestyle intervention aimed at weight loss.”

Aaron Baum, PhD, lead economist at the Arnhold Institute for Global Health in New York City, told MedPage Today: “We were surprised to find that weight loss interventions may not be beneficial for all patients. The intervention seems to lower the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality for the majority of patients, but it may have had a negative impact on a small subgroup patients, thus rendering the overall average effect neutral.”