Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on bodyweight and glycaemia in early type 2 diabetes (DIADEM-I): an open-label, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2020 Jun;8(6):477-489. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30117-0.


Background: Type 2 diabetes is affecting people at an increasingly younger age, particularly in the Middle East and in north Africa. We aimed to assess whether an intensive lifestyle intervention would lead to significant weight loss and improved glycaemia in young individuals with early diabetes.

Methods: This open-label, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial (DIADEM-I), done in primary care and community settings in Qatar, compared the effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention with usual medical care on weight loss and glycaemic outcomes in individuals with type 2 diabetes, aged 18-50 years, with a short diabetes duration (≤3 years), had a BMI of 27·0 kg/m2 or more, and who were from the Middle East and north Africa region. Participants were randomly allocated (1:1) either to the intensive lifestyle intervention group or the usual medical care control group by a computer-generated sequence and an online randomisation service. The intensive lifestyle intervention comprised a total diet replacement phase, in which participants were given formula low-energy diet meal replacement products followed by gradual food reintroduction combined with physical activity support, and a weight-loss maintenance phase, involving structured lifestyle support. Participants in the control group received usual diabetes care, which was based on clinical guidelines. The primary outcome was weight loss at 12 months after receiving the assigned intervention. Our analysis was based on the intention-to-treat principle. Key secondary outcomes included diabetes control and remission. The trial was registered with the ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN20754766, and ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03225339.

Findings: Between July 16, 2017, and Sept 30, 2018, we enrolled and randomly assigned 158 participants (n=79 in each group) to the study. 147 participants (70 in the intervention group and 77 in the control group) were included in the final intention-to-treat analysis population. Between baseline and 12 months, the mean bodyweight of participants in the intervention group reduced by 11·98 kg (95% CI 9·72 to 14·23) compared with 3·98 kg (2·78 to 5·18) in the control group (adjusted mean difference -6·08 kg [95% CI -8·37 to -3·79], p<0·0001). In the intervention group, 21% of participants achieved more than 15% weight loss between baseline and 12 months compared with 1% of participants in the control group (p<0·0001). Diabetes remission occurred in 61% of participants in the intervention group compared with 12% of those in the control group (odds ratio [OR] 12·03 [95% CI 5·17 to 28·03], p<0·0001). 33% of participants in the intervention group had normoglycaemia compared with 4% of participants in the control group (OR 12·07 [3·43 to 42·45], p<0·0001). Five serious adverse events were reported in four participants in the control group; four admissions to hospital because of unanticipated events (supraventricular tachycardia, abdominal pain, pneumonia, and epididymo-orchitis), and one admission to hospital for an anticipanted event (hyperglycaemia).

Interpretation: Our findings show that the intensive lifestyle intervention led to significant weight loss at 12 months, and was associated with diabetes remission in over 60% of participants and normoglycaemia in over 30% of participants. The provision of this lifestyle intervention could allow a large proportion of young individuals with early diabetes to achieve improvements in key cardiometabolic outcomes, with potential long-term benefits for health and wellbeing.

Funding: Qatar National Research Fund.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa, Northern / epidemiology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle East / epidemiology
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03225339