Lifestyle counseling rejected by many at diabetes risk

Many people at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes do not perceive the need for lifestyle counseling, according to a study published in the January 2012 issue of Diabetes Care.

Researchers in Finland found that 64 percent of men and 48 percent of women with risk factors for type 2 diabetes did not believe they needed to attend formal intervention sessions to change their lifestyle to delay or prevent the disease.

Those participants who agreed to attend supervised lifestyle counseling were more likely to report a perceived need for intervention. This perception was associated with actual attendance among women only.

Despite recognizing the need to change, 35 percent refused to participate in lifestyle intervention.

“It will be vital to find additional means to support lifestyle change,” the authors said in the article.

Data for this study came more than 10,000 participants in the Finnish National Diabetes Prevention Project.

Risk factors
Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include advanced age of 45 years or older, family history of diabetes, overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, higher than normal blood glucose levels, blood pressure of 140/90 or higher, HDL cholesterol level less than 35 and triglyceride level higher than 250.

Women are at higher risk if they have a history of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more. Polycystic ovary syndrome can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Ethnic minorities are also at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, in particular African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Diabetes is preventable
Diabetes is preventable, according to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). Studies show that overweight people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay disease onset by losing five to seven percent of their weight.

The NDEP promotes two ways to lose weight. One is getting 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. The other is eating a variety of foods that are low in fat and reducing the number of calories you eat every day.

An estimated 79 million Americans over aged 20 years have pre-diabetes. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal in pre-diabetes, but not high enough to qualify as diabetes.

People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes within 10 years than people without pre-diabetes. They are also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

Sources: Diabetes Care, National Diabetes Education Program

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