Study seeking people to lose weight and avoid diabetes

17 December 2013

Overweight and obese men and women are in demand for a weight loss trial to help prevent diabetes.

They will join an international three-year study to determine the best lifestyle strategies for weight loss and diabetes prevention underway in Auckland.

Researchers from the University of Auckland are seeking local people to sign up now for the next trial group that begins in February.

Watch Dr Marta Silvestre speaking with TVNZ Breakfast

The study is open to men and women aged 25-45 and 55-70 years who are overweight, but do not have diabetes. Participants must be able to travel to the University of Auckland’s Human Nutrition Unit in Mt Eden and Tāmaki campus in Glenn Innes for regular visits with the study team.

Participants who come into the study will be overweight and can expect to lose a significant amount of that weight and avoid developing diabetes.  They will learn a new way of eating and exercising that they may choose to maintain for the rest of their lives.

From the first phase recruitment, completed the first phase – the low energy diet and lost on average, 9.8 per cent of their initial body weight in eight weeks.

On average fasting plasma glucose levels were reduced which contributes significantly to a decreased risk of diabetes development. The diabetes risk score was decreased for everyone after eight weeks on the diet.

The study compares two nutritional programmes known to be very effective in helping people lose weight and avoid diabetes and which are comparatively simple to follow.

Participants are asked to follow one of two physical activity plans, so that the combined effects of diet and exercise can be tracked.

The aim is to use the results to develop a set of guidelines to tackle obesity and diabetes in adults – health problems that are of major concern around the world.

The three-year PREVIEW (“PREVention of diabetes through lifestyle Intervention in NEW Zealand  and around the world”) study will be run in New Zealand and Australia as well as six European countries.

In New Zealand it is led by University of Auckland nutrition expert Professor Sally Poppitt, with general practitioner and obesity researcher Dr Anne-Thea McGill, nutritionists, Amy Liu and Dr Marta Silvestre who is co-ordinating the study, and exercise specialist Dr Nick Gant, (all from the University of Auckland).

For the first two months, study participants will follow a low-energy diet using meal replacement sachets and are expected to lose at least eight percent of their body weight.

They will then be randomly assigned to a nutrition and exercise programme which will provide the basis of their new healthy lifestyle program over the next three years to make sure their lost weight is not regained.

Meal replacement sachets and dietary and exercise counselling will all be provided free of charge.

To find out more, or enquire whether you are eligible to take part, contact the Human Nutrition Unit: phone 09 630 3744 or 09 630 1162, or email .