, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 1231-1239
Date: 11 Jul 2002

Lifestyle intervention by group care prevents deterioration of Type II diabetes: a 4-year randomized controlled clinical trial


Aims/hypothesis. Metabolic control worsens progressively in Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus despite intensified pharmacological treatment and lifestyle intervention, when these are implemented on a one-to-one basis. We compared traditional individual diabetes care with a model in which routine follow-up is managed by interactive group visits while individual consultations are reserved for emerging medical problems and yearly checks for complications.

Methods. A randomized controlled clinical trial of 56 patients with non-insulin-treated Type II diabetes managed by systemic group education and 56 control patients managed by individual consultations and education.

Results. Observation times were 51.2±2.1 months for group care and 51.2±1.8 for control subjects. Glycated haemoglobin increased in the control group but not in the group of patients (p<0.001), in whom BMI decreased (p<0.001) and HDL-cholesterol increased (p<0.001). Quality of life, knowledge of diabetes and health behaviours improved with group care (p<0.001, all) and worsened among the control patients (p=0.004 to p<0.001). Dosage of hypoglycaemic agents decreased (p<0.001) and retinopathy progressed less (p<0.009) among the group care patients than the control subjects. Diastolic blood pressure (p<0.001) and relative cardiovascular risk (p<0.05) decreased from baseline in group patients and control patients alike. Over the study period, group care required 196 min and 756.54 US $ per patient, compared with 150 min and 665.77 US $ for the control patients, resulting in an additional 2.12 US $ spent per point gained in the quality of life score.

Conclusion/interpretation. Group care by systemic education is feasible in an ordinary diabetes clinic and cost-effective in preventing the deterioration of metabolic control and quality of life in Type II diabetes without increasing pharmacological treatment.

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