Age often results in reduced mobility. The situation
is worse if the patient suffers from diabetes as well. Being overweight further
worsens the problem. Reduced mobility affects the independence of an individual
and the quality of life in general.
A study was conducted to assess if intentional
weight loss and improved fitness could reduce the chances of immobility in
overweight people with diabetes over a period of 4 years.
The study was conducted in more than 5000 overweight
or obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. The
participants were between the ages of 45 and 74 years. They were divided into 2
groups: the first group received an intensive lifestyle intervention, while the
second group received a diabetes support-and-education program
. The aim in
the first group was to bring about a mean weight loss of more than 7% and to
increase the duration of physical activity to more than 175 minutes a week. The
second group underwent three group sessions a year on nutrition, physical
activity and support. The participants were assessed every year for a period of
Mobility was assessed based on ratings from the
participants regarding their ability to carry out activities that varied in
intensity. Weight was assessed annually and a treadmill test was done at the
baseline and at the end of years 1 and 4.
found that participants of the intensive lifestyle intervention program had a
48% reduction in the risk for mobility-related disability compared to those in
the diabetes support-and-education group. Participants in the intervention
group also reported a slightly less incidence of severe disability and a
slightly higher incidence of good mobility.
in risk of mobility-related disability in the intensive lifestyle intervention
group was due to both, weight loss and improvement in fitness
. Weight loss helps to
improve strength in the lower limbs and facilitate balance, which in turn
improve mobility. The degree of weight loss was found to be related to
adherence to diet.
The study thus
reiterates the importance of fitness and weight loss in overweight diabetes
1. Lifestyle Change and Mobility in Obese Adults with Type 2 Diabetes;
Jack Rejeski et al; N Engl J Med 2012; 366:1209-1217