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      Eight-Year Weight Losses with an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention: The Look AHEAD Study

      The Look AHEAD Research Group
      Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)

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          To evaluate 8-year weight losses achieved with intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) in the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study.

          Design and Methods

          Look AHEAD assessed the effects of intentional weight loss on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in 5,145 overweight/obese adults with type 2 diabetes, randomly assigned to ILI or usual care (i.e., diabetes support and education [DSE]). The ILI provided comprehensive behavioral weight loss counseling over 8 years; DSE participants received periodic group education only.


          All participants had the opportunity to complete 8 years of intervention before Look AHEAD was halted in September 2012; ≥88% of both groups completed the 8-year outcomes assessment. ILI and DSE participants lost (mean±SE) 4.7±0.2% and 2.1±0.2% of initial weight, respectively (p<0.001) at year 8; 50.3% and 35.7%, respectively, lost ≥5% (p<0.001), and 26.9% and 17.2%, respectively, lost ≥10% (p<0.001). Across the 8 years ILI participants, compared with DSE, reported greater practice of several key weight-control behaviors. These behaviors also distinguished ILI participants who lost ≥10% and kept it off from those who lost but regained.


          Look AHEAD’s ILI produced clinically meaningful weight loss (≥5%) at year 8 in 50% of patients with type 2 diabetes and can be used to manage other obesity-related co-morbid conditions.

          Trial Registration

          clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00017953

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          Most cited references24

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          The Look AHEAD study: a description of the lifestyle intervention and the evidence supporting it.

          The Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study is a multicenter, randomized controlled trial designed to determine whether intentional weight loss reduces cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes. The study began in 2001 and is scheduled to conclude in 2012. A total of 5145 participants have been randomly assigned to a lifestyle intervention or to an enhanced usual care condition (i.e., diabetes support and education). This article describes the lifestyle intervention and the empirical evidence to support it. The two principal intervention goals are to induce a mean loss >or = 7% of initial weight and to increase participants' moderately intense physical activity to > or =175 min/wk. For the first 6 months, participants attend one individual and three group sessions per month and are encouraged to replace two meals and one snack a day with liquid shakes and meal bars. From months 7 to 12, they attend one individual and two group meetings per month and continue to replace one meal per day (which is recommended for the study's duration). Starting at month 7, more intensive behavioral interventions and weight loss medication are available from a toolbox, designed to help participants with limited weight loss. In Years 2 to 4, treatment is provided mainly on an individual basis and includes at least one on-site visit per month and a second contact by telephone, mail, or e-mail. After Year 4, participants are offered monthly individual visits. The intervention is delivered by a multidisciplinary team that includes medical staff who monitor participants at risk of hypoglycemic episodes.
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            Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic

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              Association of an intensive lifestyle intervention with remission of type 2 diabetes.

              The frequency of remission of type 2 diabetes achievable with lifestyle intervention is unclear. To examine the association of a long-term intensive weight-loss intervention with the frequency of remission from type 2 diabetes to prediabetes or normoglycemia. Ancillary observational analysis of a 4-year randomized controlled trial (baseline visit, August 2001-April 2004; last follow-up, April 2008) comparing an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) with a diabetes support and education control condition (DSE) among 4503 US adults with body mass index of 25 or higher and type 2 diabetes. Participants were randomly assigned to receive the ILI, which included weekly group and individual counseling in the first 6 months followed by 3 sessions per month for the second 6 months and twice-monthly contact and regular refresher group series and campaigns in years 2 to 4 (n=2241) or the DSE, which was an offer of 3 group sessions per year on diet, physical activity, and social support (n=2262). Partial or complete remission of diabetes, defined as transition from meeting diabetes criteria to a prediabetes or nondiabetic level of glycemia (fasting plasma glucose <126 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1c <6.5% with no antihyperglycemic medication). RESULTS Intensive lifestyle intervention participants lost significantly more weight than DSE participants at year 1 (net difference, -7.9%; 95% CI, -8.3% to -7.6%) and at year 4 (-3.9%; 95% CI, -4.4% to -3.5%) and had greater fitness increases at year 1 (net difference, 15.4%; 95% CI, 13.7%-17.0%) and at year 4 (6.4%; 95% CI, 4.7%-8.1%) (P < .001 for each). The ILI group was significantly more likely to experience any remission (partial or complete), with prevalences of 11.5% (95% CI, 10.1%-12.8%) during the first year and 7.3% (95% CI, 6.2%-8.4%) at year 4, compared with 2.0% for the DSE group at both time points (95% CIs, 1.4%-2.6% at year 1 and 1.5%-2.7% at year 4) (P < .001 for each). Among ILI participants, 9.2% (95% CI, 7.9%-10.4%), 6.4% (95% CI, 5.3%-7.4%), and 3.5% (95% CI, 2.7%-4.3%) had continuous, sustained remission for at least 2, at least 3, and 4 years, respectively, compared with less than 2% of DSE participants (1.7% [95% CI, 1.2%-2.3%] for at least 2 years; 1.3% [95% CI, 0.8%-1.7%] for at least 3 years; and 0.5% [95% CI, 0.2%-0.8%] for 4 years). In these exploratory analyses of overweight adults, an intensive lifestyle intervention was associated with a greater likelihood of partial remission of type 2 diabetes compared with diabetes support and education. However, the absolute remission rates were modest. TRIAL REGISTRATION clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00017953.

                Author and article information

                Obesity (Silver Spring)
                Obesity (Silver Spring)
                Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)
                14 January 2014
                January 2014
                01 July 2014
                : 22
                : 1
                : 5-13
                Author notes
                All correspondence to: Thomas A. Wadden, Ph.D., Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychiatry, 3535 Market Street, Suite 3029, Philadelphia, PA, USA; wadden@ 123456mail.med.upenn.edu ; Phone: 215-746-5046; Fax: 215-898-2878
                Funded by: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases : NIDDK
                Award ID: U01 DK057135 || DK



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