Large Study Set to Stop the Uprise of Type 2 Diabetes through Diet and Exercise

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The number of diabetics globally is staggering. It is no longer a lifestyle disease of the elderly. It crosses all spectrums as now diabetes is seen in the young, the middle aged, the poor, and the rich. The numbers have risen so dramatically that the EU Commission has deployed funds towards a large research project called PREVIEW.  The largest study of its kind, PREVIEW seeks to find the most efficient methods to prevent type-2 diabetes through diet, exercise, and lifestyle.

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Type-2 Diabetes

Currently there are twenty one million Europeans who are treated for diabetes.  Around the world, the number is estimated to be more than 371 million people.  While those numbers are already high, it does not account for all diabetics.  There are also a number of people who go undiagnosed. 

For every one person who is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there is another person who is undiagnosed.  The proportion varies between countries and can range from 28-80%.  In the past decade alone, the number of people with diabetes has doubled. This explosion of diabetes has put an enormous strain on global health care funding.  The alarming statistics has prodded the EU commission to focus on prevention. How can we turn the tide on diabetes? Researchers and the public already know Type-2 diabetes can be controlled and prevented through diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices.  The question now becomes, which exercise and diet choice is the most efficient and effective way to battle diabetes?

Anne Raben, Professor at the University of Copenhagen and the project’s chief coordinator, explains the basic test model of the study.  This is a large intervention study that compares two diets and two exercise strategies.  There are 2500 participants who come from eight different countries: Finland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark.  The study began in January 2013 and will run for 5 years.

Researchers are verifying current dietary and exercise recommendations for type-2 diabetes. Are the current standards optimal?  Are there other lifestyle and exercise regimens that are more effective? Professor Raben believes that billions could be saved in health care costs for society if they can find the most effective formula to best prevent type-2 diabetes.

Two Types of Diet are Being Studied

For the study there are 2 types of diet.  The trial participants were randomly selected to follow 1 of 2 diets.  The first diet is based on current dietary recommendation with high carbohydrate, lots of fiber and moderate protein intake. While the second diet focused on low glycemic carbohydrate and high protein intake.  Professor Raben stresses that both diets are generally healthy, but can have differing effects on health.  Once the participants were given the diet to follow they were also given an exercise regime.  The hope is that diet coupled with the exercise will produce the optimal program to combat diabetes.

Two Types of Exercise Are Being Evaluated

The participants were asked to follow one of two exercise programs.  One group engaged in 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise per week.  An example of a moderate intense exercise would be a brisk walk.  The other is highly intensive exercise for 75 minutes a week.  An example would be running.

There are a lot of different aspects that make this study unique.  There has never been a study done before that compares the high protein diet to the high carbohydrate diet and their efficacies in diabetes prevention.   The diets will be tested head to head to see which one produces better results.  Moreover, the project also pits the exercise regimes head to head to see if moderate intensity exercises or high intensity exercises are more suitable to reducing diabetes. The results from this project will help to create the best formula for combatting disease. The results will help policy makers make informed decisions and help prevent the uprise of diabetes.


University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Science (2013, October 2). Proper diet, exercise to limit diabetes epidemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved

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