Intensive Lifestyle Changes Cut Diabetes Costs

(HealthDay News) — Intensive lifestyle intervention can cut health care costs over the long term in patients with type 2 diabetes, compared with diabetes support and education alone, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Mark A. Espeland, PhD, from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues randomly assigned 5,121 overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes to an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) that promoted weight loss or to a control group of diabetes support and education (DSE).

The researchers found that ILI led to reductions in annual hospitalizations (11%; P=.004), hospital days (15%; P=.01) and number of medications (6%; P<.001), resulting in cost savings for hospitalization (10%; P=.04) and medication (7% P<.001). 

There was a mean relative per-person 10-year cost savings of $5,280 with ILI; however, these savings did not occur among individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease.

“Compared with DSE over 10 years, ILI participants had fewer hospitalizations, fewer medications, and lower health care costs,” the researchers wrote.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. Espeland MA et al. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(9):2548-2556.