In a recent study of over 3000 people, lifestyle changes were more effective than drug treatment in preventing metabolic syndrome, the cluster of disorders that can lead to diabetes and heart disease that include a combination of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
Study participants who had not yet developed outright diabetes but who had high blood glucose levels, were randomly assigned to take either the anti-diabetes drug metformin, an inactive placebo pill, or to undertake an intensive lifestyle intervention -- designed to achieve and maintain a 7 percent weight loss and 150 minutes of exercise per week.
After an average 3-year follow-up, the rate of metabolic syndrome decreased from 51 percent to 43 percent in the lifestyle group. However, it increased from 55 percent to 61 percent in the placebo group, and from 54 percent to 55 percent in the metformin group.
These findings highlight the value of lifestyle interventions in the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome.
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