Preventing diabetes at the office

December 11, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - For people who already have high blood sugar, preventing diabetes could amount to just another day at the office.

A new study found that employees enrolled in a workplace intervention program as a group lost more weight, showed greater reductions in fasting blood sugar and ate less fat than employees who received only written health guidelines for diabetes prevention.

The employees had been identified through a workplace screening as having prediabetes - higher than normal blood sugar levels - which affects more than a third of American adults. This condition increases risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Half of the employees participated in a 16-week group-based intervention that focused on reducing calories and fat to achieve weight loss, increasing regular exercise and attending weekly group discussions during lunch or after work. The other half received usual care: a booklet of strategies for self-regulated weight loss.

On average, the workplace intervention group lost about 5.5 percent of their body weight and kept it off for three months, compared to less than half a percent of weight lost by the control group. The intervention group members also lowered their fasting glucose levels by more than double that of the control group.

"Adults spend a large portion of their time at work. This study shows that it is not only feasible to implement a comprehensive lifestyle intervention at the work site - it is an effective way to prevent disease," said Carla Miller, professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

"Participants who attended more group discussion sessions and monitored their food and physical activity lost more weight, and weight loss is the primary way to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes," she said.

The research is published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Miller and colleagues enrolled 69 employees in the study: 35 received the 16-week lifestyle intervention, and 34 were assigned to receive usual care. Eligible employees had a body mass index of at least 25, the lowest measure in the overweight range, and fasting glucose levels of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter. Fasting glucose of less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal.

Those in the lifestyle intervention met in groups of 10 to 15 participants weekly with dietitians who served as lifestyle coaches. They were encouraged to set small goals each week to work toward overall goals on weight loss, reduced fat consumption and an increase in physical activity.

In contrast, the control group was invited to attend one informational session on weight-loss principles and received a booklet developed by the National Diabetes Education Program containing guidelines on losing weight.

All participants were urged to try to lose 7 percent of their body weight over the 16-week study period.

While the intervention group on average lost 5.5 percent of their body weight, almost a third met the goal of losing at least 7 percent of their body weight, compared to just 2.9 percent of the control group who reached that goal. Previous research has shown that every percentage point of weight loss contributes to a 10 percent reduction in the risk of developing diabetes, Miller noted.

Fasting glucose values dropped to near-normal levels in the intervention group and decreased in the control group, and both groups maintained fasting blood sugar reductions until the three-month follow-up. More people in the intervention group than the control group neared the goal of 150 minutes of physical activity per week during the study period, but most participants' exercise habits dropped back to baseline levels by the three-month follow-up.

The intervention group also lowered fat intake and added more fiber to their diets than did employees in the control group.

Miller learned from the workplace diabetes prevention research that people who lose at least 2.5 percent of their body weight within a month are more likely to achieve a 5 percent weight loss by the end of an intervention and keep it off for at least three months after that.

"That first month is critical," Miller said. "And this current study suggests the regular access to lifestyle coaching plays a role in helping people lose weight."

This finding also suggests, she said, that once people at risk for diabetes lose weight, they need ongoing support to avoid gaining it back.
-end-
This research was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Co-authors include Kellie Weinhold and Brian Focht of the Department of Human Sciences and Haikady Nagaraja of the Division of Biostatistics, all at Ohio State; David Marrero of Indiana University School of Medicine; and Gregg Gascon of The Ohio State University Health Plan Inc.

Contact: Carla Miller, 614-292-1391; miller.4453@osu.edu

Written by Emily Caldwell, 614-292-8152, Caldwell.151@osu.edu

Ohio State University

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.