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04-08-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Family history of diabetes not a motivator to change lifestyle


Free abstract

MedWire News: The effectiveness of lifestyle counseling for men at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes is not influenced by a family history of diabetes, research shows.

The study revealed that among individuals at high risk for diabetes, lifestyle intervention counseling was more effective at reducing cardiometabolic risk in men who had no family history of diabetes than in those who did.

As reported in the journal Diabetic Medicine, Nina Rautio (University of Oulu, Helsinki, Finland) and colleagues analyzed the follow-up data for 2798 individuals aged 18-87 years who participated in the Program for the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes in Finland (FIN-D2D) between 2003 and 2007.

Participants' oral glucose tolerance, serum lipids, and family history of diabetes were ascertained at baseline and compared with 1-year follow up data. Their 10-year risk for cardiovascular death was determined using the Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) risk estimation system.

The lifestyle counseling was held in sessions at health centers in the FIN-D2D programme area and were focused on maintaining a healthy weight, diet, and lifestyle.

The researchers found that men without a family history of diabetes lost a mean of 1.6 kg compared with 0.85 kg in men who did have a history. They also reduced their body mass index (BMI) by 0.54 kg/m2, compared with 0.31kg/m2 in those with a family history.

Systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and 10-year risk score for fatal cardiovascular disease were all also reduced to a greater extent in those without family history.

The authors also found that glucose tolerance status improved more often in men without a family history of diabetes than in those with. Although it deteriorated in 19.1% of men without a family history of diabetes and remained unchanged in 57.7%, it improved in the remaining 23.2%. In men with a family history of diabetes, the corresponding figures for glucose tolerance deterioration and no change were similar (21.5% and 62.5%, respectively) but the proportion with improved tolerance was significantly lower, at 16.0%.

Neither cardiometabolic measures nor glucose tolerance patterns differed significantly between women with and without diabetes family history, by contrast.

The authors suggest that individuals with a family history of diabetes may have genetic factors related to overeating and other behavioral problems meaning they could have a poorer response to the intervention.

"Family history of diabetes may modulate the effects of lifestyle counseling on the main risk factors in individuals with high risk for Type 2 diabetes. However, lifestyle changes are equally effective in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes among people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes regardless of family history of diabetes status," they conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sally Robertson