Effects of the Norfolk diabetes prevention lifestyle intervention (NDPS) on glycaemic control in screen-detected type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial

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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this trial was to test if the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS) lifestyle intervention, recently shown to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes in high-risk groups, also improved glycaemic control in people with newly diagnosed screen-detected type 2 diabetes.

METHODS: We screened 12,778 participants at high risk of type 2 diabetes using a fasting plasma glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). People with screen-detected type 2 diabetes were randomised in a parallel, three-arm, controlled trial with up to 46 months of follow-up, with a control arm (CON), a group-based lifestyle intervention of 6 core and up to 15 maintenance sessions (INT), or the same intervention with additional support from volunteers with type 2 diabetes trained to co-deliver the lifestyle intervention (INT-DPM). The pre-specified primary end point was mean HbA1c compared between groups at 12 months.

RESULTS: We randomised 432 participants (CON 149; INT 142; INT-DPM 141) with a mean (SD) age of 63.5 (10.0) years, body mass index (BMI) of 32.4 (6.4) kg/m2, and HbA1c of 52.5 (10.2) mmol/mol. The primary outcome of mean HbA1c at 12 months (CON 48.5 (9.1) mmol/mol, INT 46.5 (8.1) mmol/mol, and INT-DPM 45.6 (6.0) mmol/mol) was significantly lower in the INT-DPM arm compared to CON (adjusted difference -2.57 mmol/mol; 95% CI -4.5, -0.6; p = 0.007) but not significantly different between the INT-DPM and INT arms (-0.55 mmol/mol; 95% CI -2.46, 1.35; p = 0.57), or INT vs CON arms (-2.14 mmol/mol; 95% CI -4.33, 0.05; p = 0.07). Subgroup analyses showed the intervention had greater effect in participants < 65 years old (difference in mean HbA1c compared to CON -4.76 mmol/mol; 95% CI -7.75, -1.78 mmol/mol) than in older participants (-0.46 mmol/mol; 95% CI -2.67, 1.75; interaction p = 0.02). This effect was most significant in the INT-DPM arm (-6.01 mmol/mol; 95% CI -9.56, -2.46 age < 65 years old and -0.22 mmol/mol; 95% CI -2.7, 2.25; aged > 65 years old; p = 0.007). The use of oral hypoglycaemic medication was associated with a significantly lower mean HbA1c but only within the INT-DPM arm compared to CON (-7.0 mmol/mol; 95% CI -11.5, -2.5; p = 0.003).

CONCLUSION: The NDPS lifestyle intervention significantly improved glycaemic control after 12 months in people with screen-detected type 2 diabetes when supported by trained peer mentors with type 2 diabetes, particularly those receiving oral hypoglycaemics and those under 65 years old. The effect size was modest, however, and not sustained at 24 months.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN34805606 . Retrospectively registered 14.4.16.

Original languageEnglish
Article number183
Number of pages17
JournalBMC medicine
Issue number1
Early online date19 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


  • Diabetes Prevention Mentors
  • Glycaemic control
  • Lifestyle Intervention
  • Peer support
  • Screen detected
  • Type 2 diabetes


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