Impact of Intensive Lifestyle and Metformin Therapy on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in the Diabetes Prevention Program

  1. The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group*
  1. Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinating Center, Biostatistics Center, George Washington University, Rockville, Maryland
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Robert Ratner, Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinating Center, Biostatistics Center, George Washington University, 6110 Executive Blvd., Suite 750, Rockville, MD 20852. E-mail: dppmail{at}


OBJECTIVE—The Diabetes Prevention Program demonstrated the ability to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes in participants with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Participants with IGT are at high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), with a marked increase in the number and severity of CVD risk factors. We prospectively assessed the impact of our interventions on hypertension, dyslipidemia, and CVD events.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—The study group consisted of 3,234 individuals with IGT randomly assigned to receive intensive lifestyle intervention, metformin, or placebo. Annual assessment of blood pressure, lipids, electrocardiogram, and CVD events was undertaken.

RESULTS—Hypertension was present in 30% of participants at study entry and then increased in the placebo and metformin groups, although it significantly decreased with intensive lifestyle intervention. Triglyceride levels fell in all treatment groups, but fell significantly more with intensive lifestyle intervention. Total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were similar among treatment groups. Intensive lifestyle intervention significantly increased the HDL cholesterol level and reduced the cumulative incidence of the proatherogenic LDL phenotype B. At 3 years of follow-up, the use for pharmacologic therapy to achieve established goals in the intensive lifestyle group was 27–28% less for hypertension and 25% less for hyperlipidemia compared with placebo and metformin groups. Over an average of 3 years, 89 CVD events from 64 participants were positively adjudicated studywide, with no differences among treatment groups.

CONCLUSIONS—Lifestyle intervention improves CVD risk factor status compared with placebo and metformin therapy. Although no differences in CVD events were noted after 3 years, achieved risk factor modifications suggest that longer intervention may reduce CVD event rates.


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    * The members of the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group are listed in ref. 2. This article was prepared by Robert Ratner, MD; Ronald Goldberg, MD; Steven Haffner, MD; Santica Marcovina, PhD; Trevor Orchard, MD; Sarah Fowler, PhD; and Marinella Temprosa, MS.

  • A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.

    See accompanying editorial, p. 971.

    • Accepted December 7, 2004.
    • Received October 20, 2004.
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