Regular and early one-to-one educational sessions on healthy diet and lifestyle in every three months, especially before 18, can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in life, suggested a new study.
The researchers from King’s College London and the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka looked at almost 4,000 people aged between five and 40.
The results suggested that regular and realistic interventions with high risk younger people – especially if done before 18 – may be more successful and cost-effective than less-intensive and irregular sessions.
Out of the 4,672 participants aged between five and 40, who began the study, 3,539 were eligible for analysis after three years.
The participants were randomised into two groups: pragmatic lifestyle modification (P-LSM) programme and control lifestyle modification programme (C-LSM).
Both groups received an identical lifestyle education programme, aimed at reducing weight, improving diet, reducing psychological stress and increasing physical activity.
Those in the P-LSM group received one-to-one advice, assessment and education sessions every three months for an average of three years.
Those in the C-LSM in comparison received these sessions only once a year for an average of three years.
For participants younger than 16, the advice and guidance in both groups was also given to the child’s parents.
They were trained by experts from the University of Colombo and the MV diabetes research centre in Chennai India with regular refresher sessions.
The groups were monitored throughout the period for several risk factors that lead to the cardio-metabolic disease in later life: new type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and renal disease.
After three years, they found that overall, these risk factors occurred less in the P-LSM group than in the control group, a significant risk reduction of 11 per cent.
The researchers found further reductions in the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.
Lead author Janaka Karalliedde from King’s College London said, “This study highlights that even small changes in lifestyle could lead to changes in health.”
“We suggest that early and regular interventions can have a significant impact in delaying or preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular disease.”
The research appears in the BMC Medicine journal.
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