Prevention of type 2 diabetes: a review

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2007 Jun;76(3):317-26. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2006.09.020. Epub 2006 Oct 27.


One of the major public health challenges of the 21st century is type 2 diabetes. WHO estimates that by 2025 as many as 200-300 million people worldwide will have developed the disease. A distressing increase in children is perhaps the most alarming sign of something going wrong. Roughly half of the risk of type 2 diabetes can be attributed to environmental exposure and the other half to genetics. Central themes for prevention are the risk factors overweight, sedentary lifestyle, certain dietary components and perinatal factors. Overweight is the most critical risk factor, and should be targeted for prevention of type 2 diabetes especially among children and youths. Ethnicity and perinatal factors are also worth considering. Today we know that prevention helps. In the US Diabetes Prevention Programme for high risk individuals, there was a 58% relative reduction in the progression to diabetes in the lifestyle group compared with the controls. Within the lifestyle group, 50% achieved the goal of more than 7% weight reduction, and 74% maintained at least 150 min of moderately intense activity each week. This review discusses different forms of prevention, and proposes first of all to target people with Impaired Glucose Tolerance with increasing activity and altering dietary factors. And secondly, population-based measures to encourage increased physical activity and decreased consumption of energy-dense foods are important, and may target school children and young people, certain ethnic groups and women with gestational diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bottle Feeding / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity / complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics
  • Risk Factors