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Summary of a Large Ongoing Diabetes Study


Updated November 15, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Look AHEAD (Action For Health in Diabetes) is a multicenter randomized clinical trial that is examining the effects of a lifestyle intervention designed to achieve and maintain longterm weight loss through decreased caloric intake and exercise.

The Look AHEAD trial is following 5,145 obese patients with type 2 diabetes. At study entry, participants were randomly assigned to one of two interventions, the Lifestyle Intervention or Diabetes Support and Education. They will be followed for a total period of up to 13.5 years.

The primary objective of Look AHEAD is to study, in overweight volunteers with type 2 diabetes, the effects of a long-term intensive lifestyle intervention program on heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death. The control group for this study is receiving a more traditional program of diabetes support and education.

Look AHEAD will also test for improvement in diabetes control and complications, general health, quality of life, and psychological outcomes. The cost and cost-effectiveness of the Lifestyle Intervention relative to Diabetes Support and Education will be assessed.

In 2010, the four-year results from the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Preliminary findings show that the test group has lost an average of 6% of their body weight, while the control group has lost only an average of less than 1% of their body weight. Test group participants are also trending better in treadmill fitness, blood sugar control, blood pressure, and "good" cholesterol levels. Whether these improvements will ultimately translate into fewer strokes and heart attacks has yet to be determined.


The Look AHEAD Research Group. Long-term Effects of a Lifestyle Intervention on Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(17):1566-1575.

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