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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Dietary advice can prevent diabetes

The Cochrane Library has published a review of the impact of dietary advice in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The review could only identify two randomised controlled studies of 12 months duration or longer. The data included just 358 people. The two studies examined different end points so the data were analysed. In the longer (6 year) study there was a 33% reduced risk of developing diabetes in the intervention group assigned to dietary advice. In the shorter (12 month) study there were significant reductions in several biological markers including body mass index, fasting blood glucose, lipids, mean blood pressure and fasting insulin.

American endocrinologists are recommending more systematic identification of patients with prediabetes so that lifestyle interventions, including diet and exercise, can be started to avoid huge financial costs in the future.

Action: Clinicians must ensure that lifestyle interventions are regularly reinforced and not overlooked in favour of "easier" alternatives.

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