UMEA, Sweden, Sept. 14 (UPI) — Primary care physicians who work with at-risk patients to improve diet and exercise can lower diabetes and heart disease risk, researchers in Sweden say.
Margareta K. Eriksson of Bjorknas Health Care Center and Umea University in Sweden and colleagues say 71 patients were randomly assigned to the intervention, which included progressive exercise training three times a week, diet counseling and regular group meetings.
After three months, participants were invited to attend group meetings at regular intervals and encouraged to maintain at least 30 minutes per day of exercise. The control group of 74 people was given verbal and written information about exercise and diet at one group meeting.
Costs were $337 higher for the intervention group than for the control group. However, the average number of visits to the family physician decreased by 0.28 per six months among individuals in the intervention group, but the individuals in the control group made an average of 0.10 more visits per six months.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, finds there was a savings of $384 for healthcare use and a net savings of $47 per intervention participant.
The intervention resulted in a favorable effect on physical activity, fitness, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure and smoking cessation over the three-year study period, the study authors say.
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