The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen sharply during the last decade, with 425 million people worldwide now suffering from the disease, largely due to lifestyle choices, which include unhealthy eating habits. While lifestyle interventions, including nutrition, exercise and stress relief, are seen as possible solutions to stop this trend and reverse diabetes, long-term studies supporting this approach are limited.
In a study published in the BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health journal, scientists at the Louis Bolk Institute (www.louisbolk.org) in the Netherlands have evaluated the ‘Reverse Diabetes2 Now’ programme, where patients with type 2 diabetes participate in a 6-month intensive programme based on lifestyle and nutrition, with a further 18-months optional support and follow-up.
The goal of the ‘Reverse Diabetes2 Now’ programme, developed by the Dutch Foundation ‘Voeding Leeft’ (Nutrition Alive), is to help participants reverse their diabetes. The programme aims to increase knowledge about diabetes and the influence of nutrition, exercise and dealing with stress on the disease. Participants, as well as their partners, were encouraged to support each other and share their experiences in order to increase programme effectiveness. Participants also received instant biometric
feedback, by routinely measuring their blood glucose levels after meals, and by regularly measuring their waist circumference. Guidance was provided for 6 months by a support team, including a dietitian, a personal coach and a nurse who worked in collaboration with the patient’s GP.
Out of the 234 participants who completed the study, results showed that:
Lead author Dr Gerda Pot from the Louis Bolk Institute and King’s College London, said: “Addressing the underlying causes of a lifestyle disease like type 2 diabetes sounds logical but so far few studies have investigated its long-term effect. This study shows that lifestyle interventions can also be effective in the longer term for type 2 diabetes.”