Support Group Weight Loss Helps Diabetics

Weight loss and control of blood sugar can reduce the risk of complications in patients with diabetes but paring off the pounds is difficult for many people. Now a randomized controlled trial of obese adults with type 2 diabetes done at the  University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis suggests that participants enrolled in a community-based structured weight loss program are able to shed more of their excess avoir dupois, improve blood sugar control, and reduce or even eliminate insulin use.

A release from the university quotes principal investigator Cheryl L. Rock, PhD, RD, professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, as saying, "Support and a tailored lifestyle intervention have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors and adverse outcomes in people with diabetes. However, most overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes do not receive this degree of support for changes in diet and physical activity to promote weight loss in their clinical care, due in part to constraints of time and training for most health care providers and clinicians."

The results of the study, published in the April 23rd 2014 online issue of Diabetes Care, found that 72 percent of participants on the weight loss program that included portion-controlled foods and personalized counseling were able to change their insulin use compared to eight percent of the control group. Similarly, other diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure drugs were decreased or discontinued more often among the weight loss program enrollees.

The release notes that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35 percent of adults in the United States are obese and eight percent of adults are affected by diabetes.

"Weight loss is a primary strategy for successful management of type 2 diabetes due to its impact on glycemic control and improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors," said Rock. "These study results suggest that patients not only lose weight on structured commercial weight loss programs that include behavioral modification and individual support, but that this weight loss translates to significant improvements in diabetes control and cardio-metabolic parameters."

Between March and August 2012, the trial enrolled 227 overweight men and women with type 2 diabetes. Participants in the structured program received diabetes self-management education, weight counseling, portioned-controlled food, a planned menu during the first six months, and continued one-on-one counseling for the one-year study period, all provided by Jenny Craig, Inc. which supplied program activities and educational materials, including consultations and portion-controlled foods. These participants showed 8.2 percent weight loss compared to 2.5 percent in the control group.