The number of diabetics worldwide is exploding. In response, the largest study of its kind to date is set to investigate type-2 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.
Twenty-one million Europeans are now treated for diabetes. Globally, the number 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.
"We would like to find out if our current dietary and exercise recommendations are optimal as relates to type-2 diabetes, or whether another lifestyle and regimen is more effective. It could save billions in health care costs for society if we are able to find a formula for how to best prevent type-2 diabetes. In part, we will accomplish this through a large scale, three-year clinical research project with a group of participants from 8 nations, and also by studying data from a range of large demographic surveys," says the project's chief coordinator, Anne Raben, Professor at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.
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.
Two diet types and two forms of exercise
Trial participants will be randomly divided into groups that each follows a specific lifestyle programme. Each programme 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, lots of fiber and a moderate protein intake; and the other, a the other diet includes high protein intake and less, but more slowly absorbed carbohydrates.