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Type 2 Diabetes: Weight Loss After Diagnosis Improves Long-Term Health Outcomes

Kaiser Permanente is a progressive not-for-profit health plan provider and one of the initial advocates of behavioral health integration into overall primary medical care.  Newly published research* suggests that people who lose weight immediately following Type 2 Diabetes, “insulin resistance,” diagnosis realize improved health outcomes, such as reaching blood pressure and blood sugar goals.  Another important finding is that these benefits are realized even if the initial weight later returns

The researchers speculate that initial weight loss may also lead to decreased diabetes related heart disease, blindness, nerve and kidney damage, and even death.  The conclusions in this study were based on 2,500 diabetic adults tracked over 4 years.

The researchers emphasized that to realize the benefits similar to those in this study, weight loss efforts must start immediately following diagnosis. Participants that achieved weight loss goals within 18 months doubled their chances of improved blood pressure and blood sugar measures four years later, even if they put the weight back on by the four year check up – in fact, many participants with initial weight loss that realized blood pressure/glucose improvements at the end of 4 years had similar weights to those without weight loss following diagnosis (i.e., the weight returned by the end of the study).  The researchers do not know why blood pressure/glucose gains persist despite the weight return, but we do not need to understand the “why” to benefit from this research!

Remember to always talk to your physician before making any healthcare changes. Please review an important warning about using sources other than your qualified healthcare provider to make health-related decisions.

CFisher

*Feldstein, A., Nichols, G., Smith, D., Stevens, V., Rosales, A., Perrin, N., & Bachman, K. (2008, August 12). Losing Weight After Diabetes Diagnosis Can Prevent Diabetes-Related Disease, Kaiser Permanente Study Finds. Retrieved August 17, 2008, from xnet.kp.org/newscenter/pressreleases/nat/nat_080812_diabetesandweightloss.html

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