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Controlled Diet and Lots of Walking Lead to Weight Loss and Metabolic Control for Type 2 Diabetes, According to University of Pittsburgh Study

SAN FRANCISCO, June 17, 2002 — People with type 2 diabetes who have the freedom to choose their own diets within certain guidelines, who follow an aggressive exercise regimen and are monitored by a registered dietician can achieve and maintain significant weight loss and maintain metabolic control, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers.

The study, "Efficacy of Self-Selected Diet in Achieving Weight Loss and Metabolic Control in Type 2 Diabetes," was presented today at the American Diabetes Association's 62nd Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

The one-year intervention study enrolled 52 overweight (mean weight of 220 lbs.) adults with type 2 diabetes who were not taking insulin. During the study they were taken off of all of their diabetes medicines. Their goal was to lose 7 percent of their baseline weight during the study period.

"The diet focused on reducing fat and calories. The exercise program consisted of walking, which gradually increased to 45 minutes a day for five to six days each week," said Pat Harper, R.D., principal investigator of the study from the division of endocrinology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "All participants made weekly visits to a registered dietician."

In a random double-blind method, participants also took either Orlistat or a placebo. Orlistat is an FDA approved drug to help people lose weight.

After six months, the participants lost an average of 10 percent of their baseline weight and their blood sugar levels went down an average of 45 milligrams. At the end of one year, the 39 participants who completed the program still maintained an average loss of 8.5 percent of their baseline weight. There was no difference in weight loss between people taking the Orlistat and those taking the placebo. Of these 39 participants, 25 were on oral medications prior to the start of their study. After one year, 18 of the 25 had normal blood sugar levels and they did not have to resume taking their medications.

Upon completion of the study, participants were surveyed to determine what behavior was most beneficial to them.

"The behaviors reported to be most helpful were exercise, eating low-fat food, having balanced meals and meeting regularly with the dietician, " said Harper.

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