The Particulars: Previous studies indicate that increased exercise and healthy diet can help highly motivated patients lose weight and prevent diabetes and its complications. Whether similar results are attainable in patients who are told by a healthcare provider to adopt such lifestyle behaviors, as opposed to adopting them on their own, has not been well defined.

Data Breakdown: For a study, investigators analyzed the records of 400,000 patients who were directed by their healthcare providers to weekly group lifestyle intervention sessions focused on issues such as nutrition and physical activity. An average weight loss of 1.3% of body weight was maintained for 3 years among all participants, compared with a weight loss of 2.7% of body weight among those who enrolled in eight of more sessions over 6 months. Participants diagnosed with diabetes before entering the program were more likely to become active participants than those who did not have diabetes at the start of the program.

Take Home Pearl: Participation in lifestyle intervention programs focused on weight loss through better nutrition and physical activity does not appear to have to be entirely voluntary to be successful.