Prevention of diabetes through lifestyle

Published on
April 29, 2015

Type-2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all cases of diabetes, primarily caused by the worldwide obesity epidemic. Diabetes is a costly disease and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the direct health care costs of diabetes range from 2.5% to 15% of annual national health care budgets. A consortium of 15 institutes from 10 countries aims to identify the most efficient lifestyle pattern for the prevention of type-2 diabetes in a population of pre-diabetic overweight or obese individuals. Diewertje Sluik and Edith Feskens from Wageningen University Department of Human nutrition both participate in the study.


The study PREVention of diabetes through lifestyle Intervention and population studies in Europe and around the World (PREVIEW) aims at identifying the most efficient lifestyle pattern to prevent diabetes with people with overweight. The project is part of the European Union Seventh Framework Programme and runs from 2013 to 2018. PREVIEW comprises two main lines of evidence: a 3-year randomized intervention trial in 8 intervention centres in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as large population studies in about 170,000 individuals across all age groups.

Randomized intervention trial

In the 3-year intervention study, the impact of various lifestyle interventions are studied: a high-protein/low-GI (Glycaemic Index[1]) diet and moderate-protein/medium-GI diet combined with moderate- and high-intense physical activity. Diet instructions are provided by cookbooks, menu planning and group sessions with a dietician; physical activities are both unsupervised and during group sessions. Between June 2013 and December 2014, about 13,900 adults have been pre-screened, 4,740 screened, and over 2,000 adults have now been enrolled. Moreover, about 50 children and adolescents have been included.

Population studies

The findings from the intervention study are to be substantiated using data from population-based observational studies, including data of five cohort studies from various countries (including the Netherlands). The cohort data are harmonised and the association between protein, GI and glycaemic load (GL), physical activity, sleep, and stress will be studied. In contrast to the intervention study, these population studies will provide insight in the association between actual intake of protein and GI and diabetes risk over a longer time period.

[1] The glycemic index or glycaemic index (GI) is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food's effect on a person's blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level. The number typically ranges between 50 and 100, where 100 represents the standard, an equivalent amount of pure glucose. Low 0-55; Medium 56-69; High 70 or greater