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Workplace diet intervention can reverse prediabetes: Study
A new study by researchers at Ohio State University shows that people who participate in a work-based dietary program can lose weight and curb the onset of diabetes.

Diabetes is a tricky disease to tackle, but a new study shows that somebody's likelihood of contracting the illness can be lessened through a work-based dietary intervention program.

The study, which was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease and led by researchers at Ohio State University, involved 69 employees who are at-risk for prediabetes. Half of the participants enrolled in a group-oriented workplace intervention program, and they lost more weight, showed greater reductions in fasting blood sugar and ate less fat than the other at-risk employees, who received only written health guidelines for diabetes prevention.

Prediabetes occurs when you have abnormal blood sugar levels, and it affects more than a third of American adults. This condition increases risk for Type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The employee group who saw the biggest success in curbing their prediabetes participated in a 16-week intervention program. The program focused on increasing regular, moderate exercise and reducing calories and fat intake to achieve weight loss, and attending weekly group meetings during lunch breaks or after work. The other half of employees received a strategy pamphlet developed by the National Diabetes Education Program containing guidelines on self-regulated weight loss.

The workplace intervention group lost an average of more than five per cent of their body weight, and they kept the weight off for three months. In comparison, the average weight loss in the pamphlet control group was less than half a per cent. The workplace group members also decreased their fasting glucose levels by more than double of the control group accomplished.

"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," Carla Miller, professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

"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.

All of the participants had a body mass index of at least 25, which is the smallest measurement in the overweight category, and they had fasting glucose levels of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter, which is slightly more than the normal readings of less than 100mg/dL.

People in the lifestyle intervention groups met in discussion clusters of 10 to 15 participants weekly, and they conversed with dietitians who served as lifestyle coaches. The participants were encouraged to set small goals each week that build toward larger, overall goals that focused on weight loss, reduced fat consumption and an increased physical activity.

The participants were urged to establish the goal of losing seven per cent of their body weight over the 16-week study period.

Although the intervention group lost an average of 5.5 percent of their body weight, nearly a third of the participants met or exceeded the goal of losing at least seven per cent of their body weight. In comparison, 2.9 per cent of the self-regulated control group achieved that goal.

Miller notes in the press release that previous research has shown that every percentage point of weight loss contributes to a 10 per cent reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.

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