Breaking the Cycle: The Revolution of Lifestyle Counselling in Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Source: The Lancet Regional Health (Europe 2022)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 2, 2022)
In the midst of a global epidemic of type 2 diabetes, the significance of nutrition and lifestyle counselling has come to the forefront. With a staggering 438 million cases of type 2 diabetes worldwide in 2019, it is clear that our current approach requires a re-evaluation. The prevalence rate of 5,283 cases per 100,000 people paints a disquieting picture, indicating a 49% increase since 1990. The culprits behind this surge are an increasing number of people grappling with excess weight and sedentary lifestyles, all while we fervently embrace the digital age. The consequence? A surge in life-threatening health issues, surging medical care costs, a decline in quality of life, and an alarming rise in mortality. The reliance on drugs alone has fallen short of solving this crisis.
A Finnish Initiative: The Power of Logic and Practicality
However, in the heart of Finland, a groundbreaking initiative emerged, grounded in logic and simplicity. Primary healthcare practitioners embarked on a mission to provide standardized nutrition and lifestyle counselling to over 2,900 prediabetic patients across the nation. In the most triumphant arm of this endeavor, patients were armed with a health app that encouraged them to mark off their daily achievements in healthy dietary and lifestyle choices. Furthermore, they participated in group counselling sessions designed to guide them toward healthier food and activity preferences. The goal was not merely to shed pounds but to elevate the quality of their diet, intensify physical activity, reduce sedentary behavior, improve sleep, cut down on alcohol consumption, and quit smoking. In essence, the aim was to halt the progression of prediabetic conditions to full-fledged type 2 diabetes. The outcomes astounded the world – the group utilizing the health app and receiving group counselling exhibited increased vegetable consumption, improved fat quality in their diets, and a slight reduction in waist circumference.
The Message Resonates: Education and Motivation Trump Medication
What makes this study truly noteworthy is that it marks the first extensive, randomized, controlled study involving primary healthcare practitioners, exploring the interplay of a digital app and group-based lifestyle counselling. The significance of this revelation cannot be overstated. In a landscape where the management of diabetes and prediabetes often revolves around medication, this study shines a light on the transformative power of patient education, motivation, and digital adherence tracking. In an era where digital health apps and devices are taking center stage, it is becoming increasingly clear that the most effective approach lies in merging these technologies with personalized wellness and nutritional medicine counselling. The human connection remains a vital component in guiding individuals toward the lifestyle changes essential for their optimal health. If you’re among the ranks of those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, seeking out a healthcare provider who can collaborate with you to facilitate nutritional and lifestyle changes while employing a health app for tracking can be a game-changer. It is a potent weapon in the battle to reverse the global trajectory of type 2 diabetes.
In a world that grapples with an escalating diabetes crisis, Finland’s logical approach is a beacon of hope. It underscores the transformational power of lifestyle counselling and the innovative use of digital health apps. In an era where the prevalence of type 2 diabetes continues to soar, the time for change is now. With the marriage of technology and human support, we have a potent strategy to halt the diabetes epidemic and foster a healthier, brighter future.
- Timo A. Lakka, Kirsikka Aittola, Elina Järvelä-Reijonen, Tanja Tilles-Tirkkonen, Reija Männikkö, Niina Lintu, Leila Karhunen, Marjukka Kolehmainen, Marja Harjumaa, Elina Mattila, Riia Järvenpää, Miikka Ermes, Santtu Mikkonen, Janne Martikainen, Kaisa Poutanen, Ursula Schwab, Pilvikki Absetz, Jaana Lindström, Jussi Pihlajamäki. Real-world effectiveness of digital and group-based lifestyle interventions as compared with usual care to reduce type 2 diabetes risk – A stop diabetes pragmatic randomized trial. *The Lancet Regional Health – Europe*, 2022. [Read the full study here](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S266677622200223X?via%3Dihub).
- Science Daily, October 27, 2022. [Read more here](https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/10/221027124041.htm).
- Type 2 Diabetes Worldwide Stats and Trends: [Explore here](https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2022.838027/full#:~:text=Type%202%20diabetes%20accounted%20for,since%201990%20(Table%201)).
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.