The risk of heart attacks and strokes in diabetic patients is not reduced by losing small amount of weight, especially if they are already receiving good medical care, a new study revealed, prompting the National Institute of Health to stop a decade long study that cost more than $220 million.
The study was part of NIH's Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial which cost around $220 million over 11 years and was scheduled to last for two more years. Around 5,145 type II diabetic patients were involved in the study with the researchers dividing the participants into two groups.
The participants in the first group received intensive dietary counseling on how to reduce excess weight and were also provided with meal substitutes and asked to exercise regularly. The participants also attended weekly support groups and met with counselors once a month. The second group received less intensive counseling and met with counselors just once a month initially before it was reduced to four times a year and just once a year.
The average weight lost among the first group was 5 percent over the study period while it was 1 percent among the second group. The researchers found that at the end of 11 years, there was no major difference in the risk of heart attacks or strokes among the two groups.
"We feel that there are many reasons why people with Type 2 diabetes should control their weight. I think the patients in the intensive weight-loss group are very disappointed. They'd worked hard to make these changes", lead researcher Rena Wing said.