Adults with pre-diabetes can lose up to 3 percent of their body weight using diet, exercise and behavioral strategies, according to a systematic review of studies that analyzed weight-loss strategies for pre-diabetics.
Weight loss is recognized as one of the better ways to keep pre-diabetes from turning into full-blown diabetes, experts say.
In their examination of nine studies that included a total of 5,168 participants, Susan L. Norris, M.D., M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues found that pre-diabetics using weight-loss interventions could drop between 2 and 3 kilograms, or four to six pounds, in one to two years. The review is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“Although the weight loss demonstrated in this review is small, even modest loss in general populations may have health benefits,” Norris says. People with pre-diabetes have impaired glucose tolerance that doesn’t quite rise to the level of a diabetes diagnosis, although the pre-diabetes condition can be “an important risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes,” Norris says. Pre-diabetes affects almost 12 million overweight people ages 45 to 74 in the United States.
Norris and colleagues examined nine studies on weight-loss interventions among overweight and obese people with pre-diabetes. All of the studies were randomized control trials, the “gold standard” of medical research.
Of the five studies that examined how these interventions affected the development of diabetes, three showed a significant decrease in the incidence of the disease, the researchers found.
Overall, the interventions decreased blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels slightly among pre-diabetics, although not significantly more than in those who did not participate in the interventions.
Pre-diabetics who had frequent contacts with the health care workers providing the diet or exercise advice and who kept up with the intervention were most likely to lose weight, Norris and colleagues conclude.