Self-Directed Lifestyle Interventions for Pre-Diabetics
Intensive intervention programs encourage weight loss through healthier diet and exercise. These one-on-one programs are often guided by lifestyle coaches. Research shows that they have led to a 58% decrease in the incidence of type 2 diabetes among people who are obese or pre-diabetic. However, primary care doctors who are involved with such programs are often burdened with high patient loads, preventing them from providing adequate individualized care patients need.
Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute have found that new self-directed interventions could increase the accessibility of educational programs to prevent diabetes. These involved using online resources and a take-home DVD which offered practical ways to eat healthier food and exercise more, and to use mental and behavioral strategies to stick to these changes. The effects of these interventions were compared to those of coach-guided interventions.
The investigators found that participants benefited from both types of interventions, although the coach-led group fared slightly better. Compared to participants who received usual care, those who received one-on-one coaching and self-directed interventions lost more body weight and decreased their waist-circumference. Men benefited equally from either type of intervention while women were more likely to respond to guidance from a coach.
Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and a senior investigator on the study, states that this difference suggests that there is a need to offer people different types of intervention which will suit them. The researchers believe that if these low-cost self-directed interventions are implemented, more people who are at risk for diabetes will benefit.
Stanford University Medical Center. Pre-diabetic patients respond to self-directed lifestyle interventions, researcher says. ScienceDaily.