During the past decade, improved understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of diabetes development has resulted in advances in therapeutic concepts, but has also supported the potential for diabetes prevention through nonpharmacological means. At the beginning of the century, we experienced a shift in paradigm, as landmark studies have shown that diabetes mellitus is preventable with lifestyle intervention; moderate changes in diet and physical activity produce a substantial and sustained reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) for individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. This evidence must now be translated into clinical and public-health practice, but translational studies have varied in their ability to replicate the results of clinical trials. This variation reflects a number of challenging barriers for diabetes prevention in real-world clinical practice, which makes it necessary to focus on identifying efficient intervention methods and delivery mechanisms. Research is now focusing on these mechanisms, as well as on developing efficient screening and risk-identification strategies and realistic scenarios for public-health policy to implement diabetes prevention programs. In this Review, we will discuss these mechanisms and will consider the implications of diabetes prevention for public-health strategy and policy.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a highly preventable disease; however, prevention programs need to systematically identify people at high risk and address the pathophysiological, behavioural and public-health determinants of diabetes development
Evidence-based recommendations for clinical practice are available and provide a solid basis for the development and implemention of T2DM prevention programs
Increased physical activity and a healthy diet (high fibre, low saturated fat, appropriate energy intake), ideally resulting in weight loss, are important and effective interventions that can prevent the development of T2DM
To identify individuals at increased risk of T2DM, a multi-stage approach is recommended, starting with a noninvasive risk score, followed by a diagnostic test to confirm glycaemic status if necessary
Implementing evidence-based strategies to initiate and support behaviour change should help to achieve sustained lifestyle changes in preventive intervention programs
Population-based implementation of primary diabetes prevention programs requires active partnerships across all different levels of public health, including local and national government and community-level organisations and services
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P. E. Schwarz declares associations with the following companies: AstraZeneca (speaker); Bayer (speaker, consultant, grant/research support); Bristol-Myers Squibb (speaker); GlaxoSmithKline (speaker); Eli Lilly (speaker, consultant); Merck (speaker); MSD (speaker); Novartis (speaker, consultant); Novo Nordisk (speaker, grant/research support); Sanofi (speaker). Moreover, P. E. Schwarz was the main partner of the European funded project IMAGE (Development and Implementation of a European Guideline and Training Standards for Diabetes Prevention), a multi-professional initiative to develop practice recommendations for diabetes prevention practice. C. J. Greaves declares associations with the following companies: Eli Lilly (consultant); GlaxoSmithKline (grant/research support); Novartis (speaker). M J. Davies declares associations with the following companies: Eli Lilly (consultant, speaker, grant/research support); GlaxoSmithKline (consultant, speaker, grant/research support); Novartis (consultant, speaker, grant/research support); Novo Nordisk (consultant, speaker, grant/research support); MSD (consultant, speaker, grant/research support); Pfizer (grant/research support); Roche (consultant, speaker); Sanofi-Aventis (consultant, speaker, grant/research support); Servier (speaker, grant/research support). The other authors declare no competing interests.
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Schwarz, P., Greaves, C., Lindström, J. et al. Nonpharmacological interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nat Rev Endocrinol 8, 363–373 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrendo.2011.232
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Scientific Reports (2018)
Impact of weight maintenance and loss on diabetes risk and burden: a population-based study in 33,184 participants
BMC Public Health (2017)
Study Protocol: The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study [NDPS]: a 46 month multi - centre, randomised, controlled parallel group trial of a lifestyle intervention [with or without additional support from lay lifestyle mentors with Type 2 diabetes] to prevent transition to Type 2 diabetes in high risk groups with non - diabetic hyperglycaemia, or impaired fasting glucose
BMC Public Health (2017)
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (2017)