A major research study, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), demonstrated that people with prediabetes were able to sharply reduce their risk of developing diabetes during the study by losing 5-7% of their body weight through dietary changes and increased physical activity. Study participants followed a low-fat, low-calorie diet, and engaged in regular physical activity, such as walking briskly five times a week for 30 minutes. These strategies worked well for both men and women in all racial and ethnic groups, but were especially effective for participants age 60 and older.
A follow-up study, the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS), showed losing weight and being physically active provide lasting results. Ten years after the DPP, modest weight loss delayed onset of type 2 diabetes by an average of 4 years. The diabetes medication metformin was also found to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes, especially those who are younger and heavier and women who have had gestational diabetes. The DPPOS showed that metformin delayed type 2 diabetes by 2 years.
The DPP and DPPOS studies clearly showed that individuals can manage their diabetes with meal planning, physical activity, and if needed, medications.
In summary, the treatment and management of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, can be accomplished via the combination of lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, increasing physical exercise, weight reduction and management, and the use of diabetic medications, if needed.