Dr. Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University in Providence, R.I., said the study involved 16 U.S. centers and 5,145 people -- half randomly assigned to receive an intensive lifestyle intervention and the other half assigned to a general program of diabetes support and education.
Both groups received routine medical care from their own healthcare providers.
Although the intervention did not reduce cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke, the study showed other important health benefits of the lifestyle intervention, including decreasing sleep apnea, reducing the need for diabetes medications, helping to maintain physical mobility, and improving quality of life, Wing said.
"The study found that people who are obese and have type 2 diabetes can lose weight and maintain their weight loss with a lifestyle intervention," Wing said in a statement. "Although the study found weight loss had many positive health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, the weight loss did not reduce the number of cardiovascular events."