HealthDay News — In patients with type 2 diabetes, an intensive lifestyle intervention may be more beneficial in cutting long-term health care costs compared with diabetes support and education alone, according to research published in Diabetes Care.

To assess the impact of an intensive lifestyle intervention on use and costs of health care, Mark A. Espeland, PhD, of the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues assigned 5,121 obese or overweight adult patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to an intensive lifestyle intervention that promoted weight loss or to a control group of diabetes support and education alone. Use and costs of health-care services were tracked for 10 years.

Intensive lifestyle interventions led to reductions in annual hospital visits (11%; P=0.004), hospital days (15%; P=0.01), and number of medications (6%; P<0.001), resulting in cost saving for hospitalization (10%; P=0.04) and medication (7%; P<0.001). There was a mean relative per-person 10-year cost savings of $5,280 with patients assigned an intensive lifestyle intervention; however, these savings did not occur among patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.

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“Compared with DSE over 10 years, ILI participants had fewer hospitalizations, fewer medications, and lower health care costs,” wrote the authors.


  1. Espeland M et al. Diabetes Care. 2014; doi: 10.2337/dc14-0093