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New study shows impact that small changes to your activity levels can have on diabetes

Posted: Thu, 12 Nov 2020 20:14

New study shows impact that small changes to your activity levels can have on diabetes

A new study has been released showing the impact that small lifestyle changes can have on the risk of developing diabetes.

According to the results of the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS), providing support to help people with prediabetes make modest lifestyle changes, including losing two to three kilograms of weight and increased physical activity over two years, almost halved the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The research trial tested a simple lifestyle intervention which helped people make small achievable lifestyle changes that led to a modest weight loss and increases in physical activity which were sustained for at least two years and the weight lost was not put back on. These findings are important as they show that a "real-world" lifestyle programme really can make a difference in helping people reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The NDPS is the largest diabetes prevention research study of the last 30 years, and was led by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and University of East Anglia (UEA), together with Ipswich Hospital, and the Universities of Birmingham and Exeter, and involved more than 1,000 people with prediabetes over 8 years.

Amy Story, Health Project Officer at Active Norfolk with a focus on diabetes, said "Physical activity has previously been referred to as the miracle cure but people don't always take it seriously, so it's great that the research shows that even small changes in lifestyle kept up over time can make such a big difference."

Along with helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, physical activity can help to prevent the onset of diabetes and help to manage the condition. Performing physical activity on a regular basis can:

  • Help the body use insulin better
  • Help to improve your HBA1c (your average blood glucose/sugar levels)
  • Help to control your blood pressure (having high blood pressure means you're more at risk of diabetes complications)

Visit our Your Health - Diabetes page for more information on physical activity and diabetes.

What kinds of activities help to reduce the risk or help manage symptoms?

All kinds of activity are beneficial. Try a few, and experiment with something you've never tried before! It's important to choose activities that you enjoy, as you'll be more likely to stick with them and be able to make the sustained lifestyle changes described in the research study.

If you're comfortable going outside, a brisk walk, jog or hike are good options. Why not find a trail or woodland near you, or explore the coast? Our Active Outdoo section has links to cycle paths, access-tested routes, and more.

If you're sheltering during the coronavirus pandemic, there are lots of resources to keep you active inside in our Active at Home section, including chair based exercises, home workouts, and downloadable exercise booklets to offer a range of options and ideas.

Tags: Diabetes, Health