Treating obesity in primary care prevents diabetes

A fat stomach

A systematic review by the US Governmen thas been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine/  The review sets out to assess the potential benefits and harms of primary care-led behavioural interventions to reduce obesity.

The interventions they looked at included behavioural and medical treatments.  They found that overall, weight loss treatments prevented the development of diabetes in people who already had the symptoms of pre-diabetes.

These findings underline the known importance of weight control in prevention of diabetes.  This is an important review that, it is to be hoped, will impact upon health policy.

Appraisal hints

Users of this research should consider:

  • The potential for publication bias in not including EMBASE in the literature search.
  • Whether the reviewers only included good quality studies, and any potential impact of mixing different qualities of study together.
  • Whether study selection, quality assessment and data extraction werecarried out blind and independently by two separate reviewers.
  • Sub-group analyses that address their particular patient orpopulation group, treatment modalities and outcomes.


Leblanc ES, O’Connor E, Whitlock EP, Patnode CD, Kapka T. Effectiveness of primary care-relevant treatments for obesity in adults: a systematic evidence review for the u.s. Preventive services task force. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Oct 4;155(7):434-47.

See also:  Prevention of diabetes.

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I am an information scientist with an interest in making knowledge from systematic research more accessible to people who need it. This means you. I've been attempting this in the area of Evidence-Based Health Care since 1995. So far the results have been mixed. For some reason we expected busy clinicians to search databases and appraise papers instead of seeing patients. We also expected publishers to make the research freely available to the people who paid for it.. Ha! Hence The National Elf service.

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