In response to the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes, the largest study of its kind to date is set to investigate diabetes prevention through diet, exercise and lifestyle. Eight EU nations, along with New Zealand, Australia and Canada, will participate in an EU-funded project headed by University of Copenhagen researchers.
Globally, the number of people treated for diabetes is estimated to be more than 371 million people. Furthermore, the number of people with diabetes has doubled in the past decade alone, with the ever-mounting and enormous strain upon global health care funding.
The alarming statistics have prompted the EU Commission to deploy funds towards a large research project called PREVIEW. The project seeks to turn the tide and thus ward off a potential explosion in future health care costs related to this lifestyle illness.
The project's aim is to find the most effective combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle related to type-2 diabetes prevention.
The large clinical study will involve 2500 participants from Finland, the Nederlands, Great Britain, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark. Partner universities within these countries have already begun their search for eligible trial participants.
Trial participants will be randomly divided into groups that each follows a specific lifestyle program. Each program will include one of two diet types, and one of two forms of exercise.
The two diet types represent one of the following: one diet is based on current dietary recommendations with high carbohydrate, high fiber and a moderate protein intake. The other diet includes high protein intake and less, but more slowly absorbed, carbohydrates.
The two types of exercise include: one in which participants engage in moderately intense exercise for 150 minutes per week, for example a brisk walk; and another type that focuses on highly intensive exercise for 75 minutes a week, for example jogging.
We already know that a diet which follows current dietary guidelines can prevent diabetes. What's unique about this project is that we are testing the two diets against one another to find out if there might be a more effective alternative. The researchers will also study the importance of stress and sleeping patterns.
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