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Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes by lifestyle intervention in an Australian primary health care setting: Greater Green Triangle (GGT) Diabetes Prevention Project

Tiina Laatikainen12, James A Dunbar1, Anna Chapman1, Annamari Kilkkinen1*, Erkki Vartiainen2, Sami Heistaro12, Ben Philpot1, Pilvikki Absetz2, Stephen Bunker1, Adrienne O'Neil1, Prasuna Reddy1, James D Best3 and Edward D Janus14

Author Affiliations

1 Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health, Flinders and Deakin Universities, PO Box 423, Warrnambool, Victoria, 3280, Australia

2 National Public Health Institute, Mannerheimintie 166, FI – 00300, Helsinki, Finland

3 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, St Vincent's Hospital, PO Box 2900, Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065, Australia

4 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Western Hospital, Footscray, Victoria, 3011 Australia

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:249  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-249

Published: 19 September 2007



Randomised controlled trials demonstrate a 60% reduction in type 2 diabetes incidence through lifestyle modification programmes. The aim of this study is to determine whether such programmes are feasible in primary health care.


An intervention study including 237 individuals 40–75 years of age with moderate or high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A structured group programme with six 90 minute sessions delivered during an eight month period by trained nurses in Australian primary health care in 2004–2006. Main outcome measures taken at baseline, three, and 12 months included weight, height, waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose and lipids, plasma glucose two hours after oral glucose challenge, blood pressure, measures of psychological distress and general health outcomes. To test differences between baseline and follow-up, paired t-tests and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were performed.


At twelve months participants' mean weight reduced by 2.52 kg (95% confidence interval 1.85 to 3.19) and waist circumference by 4.17 cm (3.48 to 4.87). Mean fasting glucose reduced by 0.14 mmol/l (0.07 to 0.20), plasma glucose two hours after oral glucose challenge by 0.58 mmol/l (0.36 to 0.79), total cholesterol by 0.29 mmol/l (0.18 to 0.40), low density lipoprotein cholesterol by 0.25 mmol/l (0.16 to 0.34), triglycerides by 0.15 mmol/l (0.05 to 0.24) and diastolic blood pressure by 2.14 mmHg (0.94 to 3.33). Significant improvements were also found in most psychological measures.


This study provides evidence that a type 2 diabetes prevention programme using lifestyle intervention is feasible in primary health care settings, with reductions in risk factors approaching those observed in clinical trials.

Trial Number

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN38031372