According to statistics, approximately over 25 million US citizens have diabetes (Orchard, 2005). This represents over 8% of the entire population. It is approximated that 79 million US citizens have pre-diabetes, a condition characterized by increased blood sugar, although, not to a level qualifying it to be termed as diabetes. Being a chronic disease, once diagnosed with diabetes, the only thing that a patient may do is to control his/her blood sugar, but cure is not guaranteed. Although treatment of diabetes prevents some of the adverse effects, it does not usually restore the blood sugar to the normal levels. Thus, current methods have proved inadequate in the management and treatment of diabetes and as such, prevention is becoming the most preferred approach. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease, having its roots in the contemporary lifestyles, characterized by unhealthy feeding habits and lack of exercise.
The research article by Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group (2002) focuses on giving a detailed description of the successful lifestyle intervention on dealing with diabetes. It is based on the research findings conducted on 1079 participants who were placed on the lifestyle intervention program. Forty-eight percent of the participants in this intervention were selected from ethnic and racial minority groups because minority groups have shown higher incidences of diabetes or related complications. The research was targeted to achieve two main objectives. Firstly is the need to achieve a minimum weight loss or weight maintenance of seven percent and secondly to achieve physical activity with of up to 150 minutes with the same intensity as a brisk walk.
The researchers reviewed the two goals as achievable, feasible and safe to the participants. The researchers designed several strategies or methods to achieve the goals. These included individual lifestyle coaches for each participant, regular contact with the participants, monitored physical activity sessions, and a structured 16-core curriculum with self-management strategies for weight loss as well as physical activity (Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, 2002). Other methods used to achieve the goals included flexible group and individual maintenance intervention coupled with motivational campaigns, individualization strategies to enhance adherence to programs and modification of the strategies and material to suit racial and ethnic diversity (Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, 2002). Finally, the program also involved far-reaching strategies for clinical support, feedback and training.
Follow-up programs for the next 2.8 years indicate that lifestyle intervention program reduced the diabetes cases by 58 percent. There were only 4.8 cases for every 100 persons. Thus, the lifestyle intervention program indicated feasible reduction of diabetes incidences across racial and ethnic lines (Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, 2002). Further, the research results i8ndicated that in to achieve prevention of a single case of diabetes among the population, it would require 6.9 persons involved in the intervention program. This indicated that diabetes prevention through lifestyle interventions should be a collaborative exercise whereby follow-up and motivational campaigns should play a critical role.
The fundamental basis of the motivational campaigns and the follow-up were seen as critical to achieving the much needed feedback and continued training to ensure lifetime adherence to the program (Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, 2004). The biggest challenge for the intervention program was to ensure adherence to the program. On a practical extensive basis, this intervention would be able to achieve the same levels of success as the research study if the health stakeholders in the community placed their efforts on motivational and awareness campaigns (Hamman, 2006).
Since the conception of evidence-based practice in 1992, the concept has gained tremendous momentum in tackling most of the 21st century health puzzles and complications, especially, at a time when diseases are becoming multifaceted. This calls for acuity care as a result of specificity of complications (Burns, 2010). Conventional approaches to modern day complications have proved inadequate and hence the need for an evidence-based approaches that is backed up by research. In this age, research has proved to be a critical tool in pinning down the 21st century health complications, because most diseases, disorders and complications are deep-rooted in our lifestyles. Diabetes is a classic example of lifestyle diseases, whose, remedy lies with the hands of researchers and subsequently embracement of evidence-based approaches.
According to the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group (2004), modern unhealthy lifestyles such as unbalanced diets, drug abuse (alcohol) and lack of physical activity put individuals at a great risk of developing diabetes. Junk foods are in the rise in the US, and this paints a dark cloud in the fight against diabetes. Modern lifestyles have led to weight gain and fat accumulation to threatening levels and as such the need to take a lifestyle approach in a bid to prevent the current diabetes statistics from escalating further. Intervention studies have shown that a lifestyle approach among the risk groups significantly reduced diabetes incidence by 42%.This was however achieved through reduction of fat intake and controlled calories. Apart from prevention, lifestyle approaches have proved effective in controlling risk factors among people living with diabetes. According to (Mosca, 2007), lifestyle approach centered on dietary controls and exercise among women has been proved to reduce cardiovascular diseases and other risk factors associated with diabetes.
As seen, a sizeable research has arrived at a consensus that a lifestyle approach is effective in preventing and managing diabetes. This has helped in reducing diabetes incidences and hospitalization rates for people living with diabetes and subsequently reduced diabetes-related costs and deaths.
Burns, N., & Grove, S. K. (2010). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. (2002). Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. The New England journal of medicine, 346(6), 393.
Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. (2004). Achieving weight and activity goals among diabetes prevention program lifestyle participants. Obesity research, 12(9), 1426.
Hamman, R. F., Wing, R. R., Edelstein, S. L., Lachin, J. M., Bray, G. A., Delahanty, L., & Wylie-Rosett, J. (2006). Effect of weight loss with lifestyle intervention on risk of diabetes. Diabetes care, 29(9), 2102-2107.
Mosca, L., Banka, C. L., Benjamin, E. J., Berra, K., Bushnell, C., Dolor, R. J., & Wenger, N. K. (2007). Evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women: 2007 update. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 49(11), 1230-1250.
Orchard, M. D., Fowler, S., & Temprosa, M. (2005). Impact of intensive lifestyle and metformin therapy on cardiovascular disease risk factors in the diabetes prevention program. Diabetes care, 28(4), 888-894.