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Diabetes Lifestyle Intervention May Lead to Long-Term Cardiovascular Benefits

A recent study suggests that undergoing the Why WAIT (Weight Achievement and Intensive Management) program — an intensive lifestyle intervention for obese individuals with diabetes — may not only lead to weight loss but also convey serious cardiovascular benefits, even if people gain the weight back.


Participants in the study included 129 Why WAIT participants with an average BMI of 38. After completing the 12-week intervention, the participants had an average 9.7% body weight loss, a loss of 24 pounds. Over the next five years, they maintained an average loss of 6.4%. Those participants who reached a target of 7% weight loss after one year (53% of the group) saw an average weight loss of 9% after five years, while those who did not meet that target saw an average weight loss of 3.5%.


Additionally, the group that lost more weight saw an average decrease of hemoglobin A1C levels from 7.4% to 6.4% at the 12-week mark and then a rise to 7.3% at the five-year mark. In comparison, the lower weight loss group saw a decrease from 7.5% to 6.7% at 12 weeks, and a rise to 8% at the five-year mark. Hemoglobin A1C is a measure of blood glucose levels over two to three months. For people with diabetes, it is recommended that A1C levels stay below 7%.


The researchers also noted an increase in insulin and other drugs that help control blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol in the lower weight loss group. Participants in the higher weight loss group either did not change their prescriptions or had fewer prescriptions at the five-year mark.


The higher weight loss group maintained improvements in LDL and HDL cholesterol levels over the five-year period, and they did not have any changes in blood pressure. In comparison, the lower weight loss group had better LDL and HDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure returned to baseline at the five-year point.


Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center conducted the study. It was published on January 4, 2017, in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.


Losing weight has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improving sleep quality, better mood, improved sex drive, decreased joint pain, and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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