The Wall Street Journal (6/25, D1, Dooren, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) reports long-term weight-loss study involving 2,600 overweight adults with Type 2 diabetes did not reduce the rate of heart attacks and strokes, but it did show a reduction in developing chronic kidney disease, as well as other benefits, such as a decrease in medicine use, depression and hospital visits. The results of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented Monday at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting. The 13-year-study, titled Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes), was ended early by the National Institute of Health after it became evident that the study would not show a reduction in cardiovascular events. When the study was terminated, participants in an intensive group that exercised and reduced calories had only loss 6% of their body weight, compared to the control group that lost 3.5%. Researchers are not sure the 2.5% difference between the groups is enough to conclude a reduction in cardiovascular events.
USA Today (6/24, Hellmich, 1.71M) reports Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University and chairman of the Look AHEAD study, said “Weight loss is still important, but the reasons why it is important are different than we thought.” Wing also said that “there was no difference between the two groups in the incidence of heart attacks and strokes, but the incidence was low in both groups.” Tim Church, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, added, “Other short-term studies have shown the benefits of weight loss (for people with diabetes), but this is the first large, long-term trial examining a diverse set of health benefits.”
Contributor Larry Husten writes in Forbes (6/24, 928K) that a ray of hope in the study “was that people in the intervention group were less likely to be treated with insulin during the first year of the trial and were more likely to have a partial remission of diabetes during the initial 4 years of the trial. In addition, as the trial investigators had previously reported, during the early years of the trial people in the intervention group had reductions in urinary incontinence, sleep apnea, and depression and improvements in quality of life, physical functioning, and mobility.” Additionally, the study’s authors “speculated that a larger weight loss in the intervention group might have produced better results,” but they noted the “weight loss achieved in the intervention group is representative of the best that has been achieved with current lifestyle approaches.”