According to researchers reducing weight and increasing exercise cut the risk of diabetes by over half. People who have elevated blood sugar are known to be at increased risk of developing diabetes. Given that diabetes has serious even life-threatening complications, it would be very useful if there was some way of helping 'at risk' individuals avoid the disease.
Researchers for the Diabetes Prevention Programme in the US have assessed the impact of two interventions - the drug metformin and lifestyle changes. A group of 200 people with high blood sugar who had not yet developed diabetes was assigned to metformin - which lowers blood sugar - placebo, or lifestyle changes. In the latter subgroup, the target was a seven per cent decrease in body mass and an increase of physical activity to 150 minutes a week.
All the participants were followed up for an average of 2 years, during which time the incidence of diabetes was 10 cases per 100 person years in the placebo group. In the metformin group, the corresponding case number was 7 and in the lifestyle modification group it was just 4 cases. This means a 50 per cent reduced incidence in diabetes after lifestyle modification. So if you've been diagnosed with high blood sugar, it could be well worthwhile losing some weight and increasing your level of physical activity.