Diabetes Prevention Program Study Participants Shed 341 Pounds

Bruce Lewis
Lewis & Summers PR

25 Locals Lose 341.5 Pounds in 12-Week Lifestyle Program
to Prevent Diabetes
Department of Defense-Funded Program Ultimately for Soldiers

Fort Bragg, California – July 20, 2009 – A group of 25 pre-diabetic local residents lost more than 341 pounds over 12 weeks in a joint North Coast Family Health Center / University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute research study, according to study co-investigators Teresa McDonald, FNP, CDE, and David Newell, M.D.

Endocrinologist Dr. Newell and Nurse Practitioner McDonald direct the Mendocino Coast Hospital’s diabetes prevention and treatment program.

“Weight loss ranged from ½ pound to 60 pounds,” said McDonald. “But we also recorded dramatic drops in cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and glucose (blood sugar) levels. Several individuals moved from being pre-diabetic, with glucose readings between 100 and 125, to normal levels. So far, two people were taken off of cholesterol medication. Another was taken off blood pressure medicine. We expect to see more.”

A total of 44 individuals were enrolled in the Group Lifestyle Balance Program, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense for potential military applications. Of those, 25 attended weekly one-hour lectures on diet and exercise, while the other 19 participants got similar advice from instructional DVD’s viewed at home with telephone support from nurses at the University of Pittsburgh.

Big Study Goals
The purpose of the study was to determine which approach to teaching healthy lifestyle habits worked best to change long-term behavior. The goal was a 7% loss in body fat and a drop to sub-diabetic blood sugar levels. To help reach these totals, the group was armed with pedometers to record daily steps (with a 10,000-step target) and “Calorie King” books to record food and calorie intake. Calorie totals were set at 1,200 per day for women and 1,500 for men. “It was shocking to see how much food and fat I was consuming each day,” said one participant.

While the results are still being collected on the 19 DVD users, those who attended lectures will be invited to participate in voluntary monthly support group meetings. In addition, mandatory blood tests will be administered quarterly to measure the progress of all 44 participants until the study ends March 31, 2010.

At one recent support group meeting, study participants enthusiastically shared the results of their latest blood tests with one another and the reactions of friends and family to their weight loss and problems with wardrobe. “I was losing so much weight that friends were beginning to worry that I had cancer,” one woman said.

There was talk of donating “fat clothes” to charity and “fitting into skinny jeans and shorts for the first time in years.” One man recounted how he called out to his wife:
“Houston, we have a problem” as his “fat” pants slid off his slimmer body right to the floor as he dressed for an evening out.

“The change in behavior has been dramatic,” said McDonald. “In the beginning they would have dived into the snacks I brought in for weekly lectures. But one day, after they had been the program for a few weeks, no one would go near the cream cheese until I confirmed it was low-fat and they knew exactly how many calories it contained.”

Based on the study’s positive results, McDonald says she believes the program would be a perfect addition the hospital’s current diabetes prevention program.