A study has found that obese people with type 2 diabetes who go on a diet and exercise can lead to a reduction of their healthcare bills by more than $500 per year. Over a period of 10 years the costs were 7% less for people following a better lifestyle, compared to those who were given diabetes support and education.
Mark Espeland, PhD, a professor of biostatistics at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said “The most important takeaway is that if you’re overweight or obese and have diabetes, and are able to lose weight; you can put money back in your pocket,”
The intervention is a part of a bigger which envisaged the study of cardiovascular studies but was halted last year after a lack of benefits regarding the primary endpoint.
The LOOK AHEAD trial involved 5,121 individuals between the ages of 45 to 76 following different lifestyles, at 16 different sites around the country. The participants in the intervention group were given calorie, dietary fat, and physical activity goals through a period of 10 years. The intervention led to a fall in number of hospitalization cases, hospital days, and the number of medications in comparison to participants who were only given three sessions of diabetes support and education a year. The intervention led to a 10 year cost savings which totaled up to $5,280 or a yearly saving of $528.
There was very little difference in the cost of medical care accrued by the intervention group and control group. Hence both the groups were seeing the Doctors and obtaining outpatient care at almost equal levels.
The study was based upon the Look AHEAD cohort and it has several limitations, the authors noted. All participants were required to have a standard source of medical care, so the findings may not be pertinent in general to other populations. The study relied on self-report.