New Lifestyle Interventions Can Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk In Diabetes Patients



By Justin Cowart

According to a new study that was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, it only took 16, two-hour long classes over the basics of living a healthy lifestyle to substantially reduce the cardiovascular risks that are associated with type 2 diabetes and elevated fasting blood glucose levels for 110 patients.

CHIP (the Complete Health Improvement Lifestyle Intervention Program) includes cooking classes, exercise programs, dietary targets and group discussions that can give participants the specifics they will need to help improve their overall health.

Based on the fact that more than 75% of western diseases are actually lifestyle-related, CHIP helps to give the participants concrete instructions that tend to take a body, mind and spirit approach to healthy living.

This retrospective study evaluated data collected in 2011-2014 from 110 different patients in 6 Ohio University CHIP cohorts from 11 other Appalachian counties where the prevalence of diabetes is well over 7% higher than the national average. The participants were able to experience significant reductions in their total cholesterol level, which is about 9.6%, 3.7% in body mass index, fasting glucose at 9% and systolic blood pressure by a total of 5.7%.

Diabetologist from Touro University California, Jay Shubrook, D.O., stated that,

“This study supports the osteopathic philosophy of medicine, including that diet and exercise are the most effective prescriptions physicians can give patients struggling with lifestyle diseases like Type 2 diabetes. But lifestyle changes require more commitment than taking a pill, which is why programs like CHIP are so beneficial.  

“Community-based interventions provide the social supports and specific instruction that move patients into healthy habits, which in some cases enabled them to reduce medications.”

The main focus of CHIP was to look at the consumption of whole foods such as whole grains, nuts, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables and even 8 10oz glasses of water a day.

With the study, more specific goals were included like keeping overall dietary fat content below 20% of total calories, daily sodium less than 2000 mg, daily intake of any added sugar less than 10 tsp, high fiber intake at (>35g/d) and cholesterol below 50 mg. Flexibility exercises and stress reduction techniques were not only taught to the participants, but also encouraged, along with a minimum of 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise.

Did you know that currently in the United States, almost 30 million people have diabetes and that 1 in 3 citizens have prediabetes?

Diabetes complications are many and include stroke, cardiovascular disease, microvascular complications and even limb amputation. Normally in the United States, the direct medical costs for diabetes patients are estimated to be as high as $176 billion annually. Of course that number is not including the indirect costs from disability, premature death and unemployment, which all tend to add another $69 billion to the whole cost.

To date, CHIP has been able to show that it can be highly effective in maintaining reductions in CVD risk factors for up to 3 years even after the completion of the program.

Shubrook explained that,

“This program engages the community to strive for and reach better health, while preparing participants with the structure they need to continue a healthy lifestyle in the future.”

According to this wonderful study, it seems that simply leading a more active and fulfilled life can make a huge different in our lives. It is refreshing to see the world of medicine start to peer into alternative health in addition to medications.

We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about this topic in the comments below!


Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
Justin Cowart


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