Impact of Multidomain Lifestyle Intervention on Frailty Through the Lens of Deficit Accumulation in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Sep 25;75(10):1921-1927. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz197.


Background: Type 2 diabetes and obesity increase the accumulation of health deficits and may accelerate biological aging. Multidomain lifestyle interventions may mitigate against this.

Methods: Within a large, randomized clinical trial of intensive lifestyle intervention including caloric restriction, increased physical activity, dietary counseling, and risk factor monitoring compared with diabetes support and education, we examined the accumulation of health deficits across 8 years. We used two complementary frailty indices (FIs) based on deficit accumulation, one modeled on work in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial and the other including additional deficits related to obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Differences between intervention groups and their consistency among subgroups were assessed with re-randomization tests.

Results: Data from 4,859 adults (45-76 years at baseline, 59% female) were analyzed. Random assignment to intensive lifestyle intervention was associated with lower FI scores throughout follow-up as captured by areas under curves traced by longitudinal means (p ≤ .001), over which time mean (SE) differences between intervention groups averaged 5.8% (0.9%) and 5.4% (0.9%) for the two indices. At year 8, the percentage of participants classified as frail (FI > 0.21) was lower among intensive lifestyle intervention (39.8% and 54.5%) compared with diabetes support and education (42.7% and 60.9%) for both FIs (both p < .001). Intervention benefits were relatively greater for participants who were older, not obese, and without history of cardiovascular disease at baseline.

Conclusions: Eight years of multidomain lifestyle intervention create a buffer against the accumulation of age-related health deficits in overweight or obese adults with type 2 Identifier: NCT00017953.

Keywords: Multidomain lifestyle intervention; Aging; Diabetes mellitus; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Counseling
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Frailty / classification*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors

Associated data