Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) often progresses to type 2 diabetes. Given the severity and prevalence of this disease, primary prevention is important. Intensive lifestyle counseling interventions have delayed or prevented the onset of type 2 diabetes, but it is not known whether less intensive, more easily replicable efforts can also be effective.
In a lifestyle intervention study designed to reduce risks for type 2 diabetes, 200 American Indian women without diabetes, aged 18 to 40 years, were recruited from an urban community without regard to weight or IFG and block-randomized into intervention and control groups on the basis of fasting blood glucose (FBG). Dietary and physical activity behaviors were reported, and clinical metabolic, fitness, and body composition measures were taken at baseline and at periodic follow-up through 18 months. American Indian facilitators used a group-discussion format during the first 6 months to deliver a culturally influenced educational intervention on healthy eating, physical activity, social support, and goal setting. We analyzed a subset of young American Indian women with IFG at baseline (n = 42), selected from both the intervention and control groups.
Among the women with IFG, mean FBG significantly decreased from baseline to follow-up (P < .001) and converted to normal (<5.6 mmol/L or <100 mg/dL) in 62.0% of the 30 women who completed the 18-month follow-up, irrespective of participation in the group educational sessions. Other improved metabolic values included significant decreases in mean fasting blood total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The women reported significant overall mean decreases in intake of total energy, saturated fat, total fat, total sugar, sweetened beverages, proportion of sweet foods in the diet, and hours of TV watching.
Volunteers with IFG in this study benefited from learning their FBG values and reporting their dietary patterns; they made dietary changes and improved their FBG and lipid profiles. If confirmed in larger samples, these results support periodic dietary and body composition assessment, as well as glucose monitoring among women with IFG.