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Lifestyle key to preventing diabetes

Lifestyle interventions are at least as effective as drugs for preventing type 2 diabetes, concludes a new meta-analysis by primary care researchers.

The UK study showed detailed, tailored advice on diet and exercise was highly effective at reducing risk of developing diabetes in patients with impaired glucose tolerance.

Lifestyle interventions reduced diabetes risk by 49 per cent compared with controls who received standard advice.

Oral diabetes drugs cut risk by 30 per cent compared with placebo or standard lifestyle advice controls.

There were non-significant risk reductions for orlistat and herbal remedy jiangtang bushen, the researchers report online in the BMJ.

Study author Dr Kamlesh Khunti, clinical senior lecturer at the University of Leicester and a GP in the city, said: 'Lots of people do progress to type 2 diabetes if they have impaired glucose tolerance. With lifestyle intervention we can halve that.'

The team noted pharmacological interventions had potential adverse effects and questioned whether 'what is fundamentally a lifestyle issue' should be treated with lifelong medication. Some 17 trials of 8,084 patients were analysed.

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