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Aucklanders sought to lose weight and avoid diabetes

Aucklanders sought to lose weight and avoid diabetes

An international three-year study to determine the best lifestyle strategies for weight loss and diabetes prevention is begun in July this year in Auckland, and researchers from The University of Auckland are seeking local people to take part.

Participants who come into the study will be overweight, and can expect to lose a significant amount of that weight and avoid developing diabetes, as well as learning a new way of eating and exercising that they may choose to maintain for the rest of their lives.

The study compares two nutritional programmes known to be very effective in helping people lose weight and avoid diabetes, and which are comparatively simple to follow. Participants will also be asked to follow one of two physical activity plans, so that the combined effects of diet and exercise can be tracked.

The aim is to use the results to develop a set of guidelines to tackle obesity and diabetes in adults – health problems that are of major concern around the world.

The World Health Organisation considers obesity to be an epidemic, and almost 30 percent of New Zealand men and women are classified as obese. Being obese or overweight is a major risk factor for diabetes, a metabolic disease that affects 347 million people worldwide and is diagnosed in 50 more New Zealanders every day.

The three-year PREVIEW (“PREVention of diabetes through lifestyle Intervention in NEW Zealand and around the world”) study will be run in New Zealand and Australia as well as six European countries. In New Zealand it is led by nutrition expert Professor Sally Poppitt, with general practitioner and obesity researcher Dr Anne-Thea McGill, nutritionist Dr Marta Silvestre who is co-ordinating the study, and exercise specialist Dr Nick Gant, all from the University of Auckland.

For the first two months, study participants will follow a low-energy diet using meal replacement sachets, and are expected to lose at least eight percent of their body weight. They will then be randomly assigned to a nutrition and exercise programme which will provide the basis of their new healthy lifestyle program over the next 3 years, to make sure their lost weight is not regained. Meal replacement sachets and dietary and exercise counselling will all be provided free of charge.

The study is open to men and women aged 25-45 and 55-70 years who are overweight but do not have diabetes. Participants must be able to travel to The University of Auckland’s Human Nutrition Unit in Mt Eden and Tāmaki campus in Glenn Innes for regular visits with the study team.

To find out more, or enquire whether you are eligible to take part, contact the Human Nutrition Unit: phone 09 630 3744 or 09 630 1162, or email nzpreview@gmail.com.

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