Background: The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS) was a randomized controlled trial, which showed that it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes by lifestyle changes. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the lifestyle intervention had an effect on the ten-year mortality and cardiovascular morbidity in the DPS participants originally randomized either into an intervention or control group. Furthermore, we compared these results with a population-based cohort comprising individuals of varying glucose tolerance states.
Methods and findings: Middle-aged, overweight people with IGT (n = 522) were randomized into intensive intervention (including physical activity, weight reduction and dietary counseling), or control "mini-intervention" group. Median length of the intervention period was 4 years and the mean follow-up was 10.6 years. The population-based reference study cohort included 1881 individuals (1570 with normal glucose tolerance, 183 with IGT, 59 with screen-detected type 2 diabetes, 69 with previously known type 2 diabetes) with the mean follow-up of 13.8 years. Mortality and cardiovascular morbidity data were collected from the national Hospital Discharge Register and Causes of Death Register. Among the DPS participants who consented for register linkage (n = 505), total mortality (2.2 vs. 3.8 per 1000 person years, hazard ratio HR = 0.57, 95% CI 0.21-1.58) and cardiovascular morbidity (22.9 vs. 22.0 per 1000 person years, HR = 1.04, 95% CI 0.72-1.51) did not differ significantly between the intervention and control groups. Compared with the population-based cohort with impaired glucose tolerance, adjusted HRs were 0.21 (95% CI 0.09-0.52) and 0.39 (95% CI 0.20-0.79) for total mortality, and 0.89 (95% CI 0.62-1.27) and 0.87 (0.60-1.27) for cardiovascular morbidity in the intervention and control groups of the DPS, respectively. The risk of death in DPS combined cohort was markedly lower than in FINRISK IGT cohort (adjusted HR 0.30, 95% CI 0.17-0.54), but there was no significant difference in the risk of CVD (adjusted HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.64-1.21).
Conclusions: Lifestyle intervention among persons with IGT did not decrease cardiovascular morbidity during the first 10 years of follow-up. However, the statistical power may not be sufficient to detect small differences between the intervention and control groups. Low total mortality among participants of the DPS compared with individuals with IGT in the general population could be ascribed to a lower cardiovascular risk profile at baseline and regular follow-up.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00518167.