Researchers at UPMC decided to tackle the growing problem of people at risk for diabetes. And the results are promising. The study showed that regular healthy living and exercise can drastically lower the risks of contracting Type 2 diabetes according to a UPMC press release.

The study focused on people in communities traditionally underserved and with limited options to determine whether a complex lifestyle change could help curb the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Participants in the 12-week study were encouraged to eat healthy and lose 7 percent of their total body weight. According to the press release, about 46 percent lost 5 percent or more of their body mass. They were also encouraged to exercise for 150 minutes a week.

Researchers found that this sort of lifestyle change contributed to a 58 percent reduction in type 2 diabetes.

“Previous research has demonstrated that people in underserved urban communities have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle interventions could help prevent diabetes and heart disease. However, there is very little research on the sustainability of improvements following lifestyle interventions designed to prevent diabetes and heart disease in these community settings.,“ said Mim Seidel , the diabetes program director at the Pitt’s Diabetes Institute in a press release.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 21 million people have diabetes, and 95 percent of those cases are type 2. Also, more than 50 million people are considered at risk for contracting the chronic condition.

Type 1 diabetes affects 5 percent of the people with diabetes, and basically occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing pancreas. For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the is no cure, only a series of treatments and lifestyle choices that help make the chronic condition manageable.

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