Frequent contact with health professionals improves health in prediabetes
MedWire News: Frequency of contact with health professionals is more important than the specific discipline of the professional when pre-diabetic individuals are trying to reduce their body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference through lifestyle intervention programs, suggest Canadian researchers.
However, in order to improve physical capacity, two or more group sessions with a kinesiologist, who specializes in the anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of body movement, seem to play an independent and important role, they say.
Led by Marie-France Langlois (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke, Quebec), the team randomly assigned 48 adults with prediabetes (fasting glucose ranging from 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L) to one of two interventions for a 12-month period: individual counseling sessions and group seminars (I+SE) or seminars only (SE).
Physical activity level, energy intake, anthropometric measures, and physical capacity were assessed at baseline and at the end of the intervention.
The individual counseling sessions were held every 6 weeks and lasted 45 minutes, during which time individuals spent 15 minutes with each a nurse, a dietitian, and a physician.
A series of 25 different group seminars covering topics such as diet, exercise, behavioral modification, and obesity were held weekly and then repeated later in the year. Eight of the seminars were given by the dietitian and four by the physician.
Of the remaining seminars, eight were held by a psychologist who covered topics such as self esteem, emotional eating, and stress management, and five were given by a kinesiologist who discussed physical activity, energy expenditure, and solutions to exercise barriers.
As reported in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, contact frequency with a health professional for each participant ranged from six to 35 sessions in the I+SE group and from three to 29 sessions for the SE group.
The authors found that the total contact frequency with any health professional in the team was correlated with a significant decrease from baseline in body weight (31%), BMI (30%), and waist circumference (38%). In contrast, contact with any specific individual was not associated with changes in any outcome.
However, stratification of the participants by contact frequency (those who met at least twice with each professional vs those who did not), revealed that contact frequency with the kinesiologist was associated with a greater improvement in physical capacity (14.2 vs 3.4%), whereas all other outcomes remained unchanged.
The authors say their findings show that, to improve anthropometric measures, total contact frequency seems to be more important than contact with any specific professionals.
"However, to improve physical capacity, meeting with a kinesiologist for two or more occasions, in group sessions, seems to be an effective strategy," they conclude.
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By Sally Robertson