A new study has found that diabetic patients who join weight loss programs on a short-term basis are motivated to follow the same over a long period of time.
The study by researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston showed that diabetic patients, who enrolled in the Weight Achievement and Intensive Treatment (Why WAIT) program, successfully lost on average 24.6 pounds or 10.3 percent of their initial body weight during the 12-week program.
And after the one-year of follow-up period, the average weight loss was 18.2 pounds or 7.6 percent of initial body weight.
"People have been waiting to see a longer term result of this novel program. Most people think that positive results of clinical trials around weight reduction in people with diabetes cannot be replicated in the real world and cannot give similar long-term results," said Osama Hamdy, M.D., Ph.D., director of the clinical obesity program at Joslin and the study's lead investigator.
"This is going to change the way we treat diabetes and encourage us to move toward weight-based diabetes management rather than adding more medications."
The Why WAIT is a 12-week multidisciplinary diabetes weight management program designed for clinical practice and is mostly covered by insurance.
In the study, 85 participants were followed during the 12-week program and for a year afterwards when they managed their weight on their own.
The results indicated that 55 percent of participants continuously lost weight throughout the follow-up period and managed excellent diabetes and blood pressure control on less medications. Also, Hamdy said that patients saved average 561 dollars per year on diabetes medications alone.
The Why WAIT program included a change in diabetes medications to enhance weight reduction, structured dietary intervention with fewer than 40 percent of daily calories from carbohydrates and 30 percent of calories from protein and meal replacement drinks, an exercise program with an emphasis on strength training and weekly educational and support sessions.
The study was presented at the American Diabetes Association's 68th Scientific Sessions.