Clinical Edge

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Impact of Intensive Weight Loss & Life Expectancy

Diabetes Care; ePub 2018 Mar 15; Gregg, et al

Among overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D), long-term lifestyle interventions may reduce long-term disability that may positively affect disability-free life expectancy, but not total life expectancy, a recent study found. Overweight or obese adults aged 45-76 years with T2D (n=5,145) were randomly assigned to a 10-year intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) or diabetes support and education (DSE). Physical function was assessed annually for 12 years. Researchers found:

  • Physical disability incidence was lower in the ILI group (6.0% per year) vs the DSE group (6.8% per year).
  • Rates of disability remission and mortality did not differ between groups.
  • ILI participants had a significant delay in moderate or severe disability onset and an increase in number of nondisabled years vs DSE participants.
  • There was no difference in total years of life expectancy between groups.


Gregg EW, Lin J, Bardenheier B, et al. Impact of intensive lifestyle intervention on disability-free life expectancy: The Look AHEAD Study. [Published online ahead of print March 15, 2018]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc17-2110.