Objective: The Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study is a 16-centre randomised clinical trial in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes, designed to evaluate the long-term effects (up to 11.5 years) of intensive weight loss intervention on the time to incidence of major cardiovascular events.
Research design and methods: Eligibility requirements are diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (determined by self-report and verification) in individuals aged 4574 years and body mass index (BMI) > 25 kg/m2 (> 27 kg/m2 if currently taking insulin). The intensive lifestyle intervention is designed to achieve and maintain weight loss through decreased caloric intake and increased physical activity. The study is designed to provide 90% probability of detecting an 18% difference in major cardiovascular disease event rates in patients randomised to the intensive lifestyle intervention compared to the control group receiving standard diabetes support and education.
Results: The 5,145 participants who were randomised between 2001 and 2004 were 63.3% white, 15.6% African-American, 13.2% Hispanic, 5.0% American Indian and 1.0% Asian-American, which closely paralleled the ethnic distribution of diabetes in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2000 survey. Their average age at entry was 59+/-6.8 years (mean+/-SD), and 60% were women. There were 31.5% between 4555 years of age, 51.5% were 5665, and 17.0% were 6676 years of age. Some 15.4% of participants were taking insulin at the time of randomisation and 14.0% had a history of cardiovascular disease. More men (21.3%) than women (9.2%) had a history of cardiovascular disease. Few participants (4.4%) were current cigarette smokers, compared to 16.2% in the NHANES 1999-2000 survey. Furthermore, 65.0% of participants had a first-degree relative with diabetes. Overall, BMI averaged 36+/-5.9 kg/m2 at baseline, with 83.6% of the men and 86.1% of women having a BMI > 30 kg/m2 and 17.9% of men and 25.4% of women having a BMI > 40 kg/m2.
Conclusions: The Look AHEAD study has successfully randomised a large cohort of participants who have type 2 diabetes with a wide distribution of age, obesity, ethnicity and racial background and will examine the effects of lifestyle intervention on the incidence of major cardiovascular events.