Lifestyle strategies for weight control: experience from the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study

Proc Nutr Soc. 2005 Feb;64(1):81-8. doi: 10.1079/pns2004412.


Currently, in many European countries more than half the adult population is overweight; it hass become 'abnormal' to be of 'normal weight'. The risk of type 2 diabetes, CVD, hypertension and certain forms of cancer increase with increasing weight. Biological evolution has produced body-fat-regulating mechanisms that are more powerful in protecting against weight loss than against weight gain. The current environment offers constant availability of affordable palatable energy-rich foods, with no need to consume the energy through physical activity. The 'obesogenic' environment is to some extent a political issue, but it has been shown that the healthcare system can also have a role in preventing obesity-related morbidity. The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study was the first controlled randomised study to show that individualised lifestyle counselling of individuals with high risk of developing type 2 diabetes can influence diet, physical activity and body weight, and that type 2 diabetes can be prevented, or at least postponed. Most importantly, lifestyle changes do not have to be extreme. If the population would adopt a lifestyle in line with the official nutrition recommendations, the obesity and diabetes trend could at least be stabilised.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Finland
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic