Aims: To complete 5-year follow-up of an intensive weight loss programme in established type 2 diabetic subjects.
Methods: Forty-five obese type 2 diabetic subjects, Body mass index (BMI) > 30, expressed interest in an intensive weight loss programme. Group 1 comprised 15 who selected very low calorie diet (VLCD), Group 2, 15 selected intensive conventional diet and exercise (ICD), 15 failed to follow either programme. Group sessions of eight to 15 subjects continued weekly for 6 months, then monthly for 12 months with prospective recording at 3, 6 and 12 months and then annually of quality of life, BMI, waist/hip ratio, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, serum fructosamine and serum lipids.
Results: Weight loss was slower in the intensive conventional diet group than in the VLCD group, but better maintained at 5 years: group 1, 4.8 +/- 6 kg; group 2, 8.9 +/- 4 kg. In the intensive conventional diet group, 5 year high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was increased 1.78 +/- 0.26 mmol L-1 vs. 1.10 +/- 0.32 mmol L-1 at baseline, and diastolic blood pressure reduced 74.5 +/- 13.3 vs. 85.5 +/- 13.3 at baseline, both P < 0.05.
Conclusions: Out-patient VLCD treatment proved safe and effective in overweight diabetic subjects but those who chose conventional diet and exercise had a slower but more sustained weight loss. Diabetic patients willing to attempt VLCD may safely lose sufficient weight to allow major surgery, but weight regain is inevitable. Patients willing to undertake a long-term group programme of conventional diet can sustain significant weight loss for 5 years, but still require antidiabetic medication.