By Martha Funnell, MS, RN, CDE
THE LOOK-AHEAD STUDY
More than 5,000 people with type 2 diabetes from around the country took part in the government study, called “Look-AHEAD” (Action for Health in Diabetes). They were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group was assigned to a very intensive lifestyle program, while the other group was assigned to a standard diabetes education and support group program. Each group received the intervention for three years and was monitored for weight and other measures of blood glucose control, heart health and fitness. At the end of 11 years, the rate of heart attacks and strokes was the same in the two groups, and the study was stopped because it was felt that the question had been answered.
What does this mean for you? Does it mean that all of your hard work has been for nothing? Well, like most things in the news, there is more to the story than meets the eye.
THE CLEARER PICTURE
The good news from the Look-AHEAD study is that the rate of heart attacks, strokes, hospital stays and deaths from these events was lower in both groups than expected. Being more aware and being closely monitored appears to have some benefit.
However, researchers have only compared the people in the intensive intervention group with those in the education group so far. And while the intensive group, lost weight on average, it is likely that not everyone in that group lost weight. They have not yet compared people who lost weight with those who did not lose weight. It is possible those in the intensive lifestyle group who had heart attacks and strokes were those who did not lose weight. So stay tuned as the researchers more closely examine a lot of additional information.
Remember that headlines are written to entice you to read more. Going beyond the headlines to get the facts helps you to make informed decisions—especially when it comes to your health.