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Half of adults with type 2 diabetes report reversing their condition after losing weight, study reveals

Slimming World

3 min read

This Diabetes Week (8th – 14th June), new research from Slimming World has shown how losing 10% of body weight through changes in diet and activity can help people with type 2 diabetes to reverse the condition.

The study*, led by the UK and Ireland’s leading weight-management organisation Slimming World, polled members with type 2 diabetes. Of those who had been Slimming World members for six months or more and lost at least 10% of their body weight, more than half (54%) said they believed they had reversed their condition.

Findings from the survey also revealed:

  • 60% were able to reduce or stop taking medication for type 2 diabetes
  • 77% saw improvements in their blood glucose management
  • 84% reported an improved quality of life
  • 75% said they found it easy to fit the dietary requirements they received from their healthcare team into Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan

The findings demonstrate that people with type 2 diabetes can improve their diabetes control by making healthy lifestyle changes and losing weight.

The study reveals 68% of those with type 2 diabetes who were advised by their healthcare team to lose weight achieved 10% weight loss or more, and 83% reported their healthcare teams were pleased with their weight loss progress.

The research also shows 77% of members participating in the study reported improvements in their blood glucose management since joining Slimming World, 85% said they were more active and 60% said they now required less medication for type 2 diabetes with 22% able to stop taking medication completely.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition and Research at Slimming World, says: “The survey shows us how many members with type 2 diabetes start seeing benefits after losing 10% of their body weight. It’s so encouraging to see people can achieve such improvements in their diabetes management, in fact even reporting they have reversed it, by making simple changes in diet and activity. This survey highlights people with type 2 diabetes don’t need to follow very low-calorie or restrictive diets to transform their health.

“We know that being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be daunting. Often people receive recommendations from their healthcare team and so can benefit from support to help them make these changes to their lifestyle. Our healthy eating plan, called Food Optimising, is so flexible that it’s easy to tailor it to your tastes, budget and life, and as this research shows also ensure it’s in line with any dietary advice received from a health care professional. In fact, in the study 75% of members with type 2 diabetes said they found it easy to fit dietary requirements from their healthcare team into our Food Optimising eating plan. Our Body Magic activity programme is also designed to provide a gradual and personalised introduction to moving more, no matter your starting point.

“The findings of our study are especially important this Diabetes Week as new NHS research is reporting that people with diabetes face significantly higher risks after contracting coronavirus. Many people are reporting feeling isolated and worried during this pandemic and those with diabetes may be feeling even more anxious at the moment. However, as our research shows, being a member of a supportive weight loss group can help people with type 2 diabetes to improve their health. The expert support and camaraderie you get from being part of a warm, empowering group environment is key to helping people eat more healthily, become more active and improve their health. Since lockdown began, we have been running virtual groups which our members say have helped them to stay on track with their weight loss and fitness goals, and we’re looking forward to reopening our 19,000 in-person groups as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

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