Different Effects of Lifestyle Intervention in High- and Low-Risk Prediabetes: Results of the Randomized Controlled Prediabetes Lifestyle Intervention Study (PLIS)

Diabetes. 2021 Dec;70(12):2785-2795. doi: 10.2337/db21-0526. Epub 2021 Sep 16.


Lifestyle intervention (LI) can prevent type 2 diabetes, but response to LI varies depending on risk subphenotypes. We tested whether individuals with prediabetes with low risk (LR) benefit from conventional LI and individuals with high risk (HR) benefit from an intensification of LI in a multicenter randomized controlled intervention over 12 months with 2 years' follow-up. A total of 1,105 individuals with prediabetes based on American Diabetes Association glucose criteria were stratified into an HR or LR phenotype based on previously described thresholds of insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, and liver fat content. LR individuals were randomly assigned to conventional LI according to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) protocol or control (1:1) and HR individuals to conventional or intensified LI with doubling of required exercise (1:1). A total of 908 (82%) participants completed the study. In HR individuals, the difference between conventional and intensified LI in postchallenge glucose change was -0.29 mmol/L [95% CI -0.54; -0.04], P = 0.025. Liver fat (-1.34 percentage points [95% CI -2.17; -0.50], P = 0.002) and cardiovascular risk (-1.82 percentage points [95% CI -3.13; -0.50], P = 0.007) underwent larger reductions with intensified than with conventional LI. During a follow-up of 3 years, intensified compared with conventional LI had a higher probability of normalizing glucose tolerance (P = 0.008). In conclusion, it is possible in HR individuals with prediabetes to improve glycemic and cardiometabolic outcomes by intensification of LI. Individualized, risk phenotype-based LI may be beneficial for the prevention of diabetes.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01947595.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acuity
  • Prediabetic State / blood
  • Prediabetic State / pathology
  • Prediabetic State / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01947595
  • figshare/10.2337/figshare.16613905