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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Giving Patients a Choice of Health Interventions Improves Outcomes for Those At Risk of Developing Diabetes, Pitt Researchers Find

Results of the Rethinking Eating and ACTivity Study (REACT) Presented at American Diabetes Association Meeting

PITTSBURGH, June 24, 2011  Allowing those at the highest risk of developing diabetes to select the lifestyle intervention that will benefit them offers the best results in well-being and functionality when compared to other methods.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues will be presenting these results of the Rethinking Eating and ACTivity Study (REACT) in oral presentations at the American Diabetes Association 71st Scientific Sessions in San Diego, June 24 to 28.

In two separate studies being presented, Gretchen Piatt, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues assessed group lifestyle balance programs, which are interventions designed to educate those at high risk for developing diabetes on how to make healthy changes to their lifestyle, including information on physical activity and effective weight loss techniques.

The REACT study researchers randomized 434 overweight individuals from rural communities in southwestern Pennsylvania into one of four groups, including those that participated in a group lifestyle balance program face-to-face, by DVD or online. The fourth group made their own selection. 

The first study (Abstract Number 0297-OR) assessed the reported well-being and function of those who participated in the interventions. Researchers found that those in the self-selection group experienced the largest improvement in physical and mental functioning when compared to the other groups. These results support giving patients an option for the type of intervention they would like to participate in, which may allow them to more effectively reach their goals. 

In the second study (Abstract Number 0227-OR), researchers compared each of the lifestyle interventions to determine their effectiveness. Changes in weight loss and impaired fasting glucose levels of the participants were assessed. Researchers found that greater than 50 percent of participants in all groups met the 5 percent weight loss goal following intervention, and of those who met the goal, more than 80 percent sustained the 5 percent weight loss at six-month follow-up. All participants in the self-selection group maintained their weight loss at six-month follow-up. Additionally, participants in the self-selection group were 1.5 times less likely to have impaired fasting glucose when compared to participants in other groups.

“Results from both of the studies further indicate the effectiveness of a group lifestyle-balance intervention, and the importance of patient-centered decision making in healthcare,” said Dr. Piatt.

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