Weight Loss Shown Not to Decrease Risk of Diabetes-Associated Cardiovascular Events

Published Online: Friday, November 9, 2012
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Despite the fact that many new studies have shown that weight loss cuts diabetes risk, and may even reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals that weight loss does not lower the risk of heart disease in people who already have type 2 diabetes.

The Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study enrolled 5145 patients with diabetes aged 45 to 76 years across 16 research centers. Half of participants were assigned to receive an intensive lifestyle intervention geared toward weight loss and the other half participated in a general diabetes support program. Researchers sought to determine if an intense weight loss program would help the intervention group lower its risk of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular events.

The study was halted in September 2012 because an independent advisory board found that although the intervention arm did not cause harm, the intensive lifestyle modifications did not decrease the occurrence of cardiovascular events.

“Both groups had a lower number of cardiovascular events compared to previous studies of people with diabetes,” however, according to Mary Evans, PhD, director of special projects in nutrition, obesity, and digestive diseases within the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.


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