Effects of a lifestyle intervention programme after 1 year of follow-up among South Asians at high risk of type 2 diabetes: a cluster randomised controlled trial

BMJ Glob Health. 2021 Nov;6(11):e006479. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2021-006479.


Introduction: South Asians are at high risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We assessed whether intensive family-based lifestyle intervention leads to significant weight loss, improved glycaemia and blood pressure in adults at elevated risk for T2D.

Methods: This cluster randomised controlled trial (iHealth-T2D) was conducted at 120 locations across India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UK. We included 3684 South Asian men and women, aged 40-70 years, without T2D but with raised haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and/or waist circumference. Participants were randomly allocated either to the family-based lifestyle intervention or control group by location clusters. Participants in the intervention received 9 visits and 13 telephone contacts by community health workers over 1-year period, and the control group received usual care. Reductions in weight (aim >7% reduction), waist circumference (aim ≥5 cm reduction), blood pressure and HbA1C at 12 months of follow-up were assessed. Our linear mixed-effects regression analysis was based on intention-to-treat principle and adjusted for age, sex and baseline values.

Results: There were 1846 participants in the control and 1838 in the intervention group. Between baseline and 12 months, mean weight of participants in the intervention group reduced by 1.8 kg compared with 0.4 kg in the control group (adjusted mean difference -1.10 kg (95% CI -1.70 to -1.06), p<0.001). The adjusted mean difference for waist circumference was -1.9 cm (95% CI -2.5; to 1.3), p<0.001). No overall difference was observed for blood pressure or HbA1c. People who attended multiple intervention sessions had a dose-dependent effect on waist circumference, blood pressure and HbA1c, but not on weight.

Conclusion: An intensive family-based lifestyle intervention adopting low-resource strategies led to effective reduction in weight and waist circumference at 12 months, which has potential long-term benefits for preventing T2D. A higher number of attended sessions increased the effect on waist circumference, blood pressure and HbA1c.

Trial registration number: EudraCT: 2016-001350-18; ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02949739.

Keywords: cluster randomized trial; diabetes; epidemiology; prevention strategies; public health.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian People
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Weight Loss

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02949739