The Diabetes Prevention Program showed lifestyle changes -- reduced fat and calories in the diet and increased physical activity -- led to modest weight loss and reduced the rate of type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults by 58 percent, compared with placebo, the study said.
The drug metformin reduced diabetes by 31 percent. The initial results were published in 2002 but as researchers monitored participants for seven more years in the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study, they observed lower rates of diabetes in the lifestyle and metformin groups compared with placebo, researchers said.
Metformin, an oral drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for diabetes prevention. The lifestyle intervention was cost-effective, or justified by the benefits of diabetes prevention and improved health over 10 years, compared with placebo, the researchers said.
"Over 10 years, the lifestyle and metformin interventions resulted in health benefits and reduced the costs of inpatient and outpatient care and prescriptions, compared with placebo," lead author Dr. William H. Herman, a director of the Michigan Center for Diabetes Translational Research in Ann Arbor, said in a statement. "From the perspective of the healthcare payer, these approaches make economic sense."