HealthDay News — Comprehensive lifestyle interventions decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes in patients at high risk for the disease, but the benefits are less clear for patients already diagnosed with the condition, researchers found.

Elizabeth Sumamo Schellenberg, MPH, from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues reviewed the literature and conducted a meta-analysis of nine randomized, controlled trials with patients at risk for diabetes and 11 including patients with diabetes to examine the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions.The results were published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

In all trials, lifestyle interventions of at least three months duration that consisted of exercise, dietary changes and at least one other component were compared with standard care.

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Diabetes risk decreased with lifestyle interventions from the end of the intervention through 10 years after the intervention in seven studies, the researchers found.

Two trials, both of which included pharmacotherapy as a component of the intervention, showed no improvement in all-cause mortality among patients with diabetes. 

At 13 years’ follow-up one of the trial reported improvement in microvascular outcomes. Pooling of composite outcomes for cardiovascular disease was hindered by heterogeneity.

“Comprehensive lifestyle interventions effectively decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes in high-risk patients,” the researchers wrote. “In patients who have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the evidence of benefit of comprehensive lifestyle interventions on patient-oriented outcomes is less clear.”


  1. Schellenberg ES et al. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(8): 543-551.