Diabetes Remission Is Possible without Bariatric Surgery for Some Obese Patients

Bariatric surgery is a pretty extreme solution for morbid obesity, although sometimes a necessary, life-saving choice. Still, there can be problems if something goes awry, and many people are too scared to go for it. That’s why it’s good to know this 12-week behavioral management program works for a certain subgroup.

Researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston looked at whether diabetes remission was possible without bariatric surgery through a 12-week intensive program for diabetes weight management called the Weight Achievement and Intensive Treatment (Why WAIT) program.

They retrospectively evaluated diabetes remissions after one year. Of the 120 obese patients with type 2 diabetes who completed the program, 88 patients returned for follow-up at one year.  

Nineteen patients (21.6%) had major improvement in their glycemic control, defined as an A1C <6.5% after one year.

Four patients (4.5%) achieved either partial or complete diabetes remission, defined as A1C <6.5% and <5.7%, respectively, on no antihyperglycemic medications for one year;

Two achieved partial remission (2.3%) and 2 achieved complete remission (2.3%).

At the time of the intervention, patients who achieved diabetes remission had shorter diabetes duration (<5 years) and lower A1C (<8%), and were treated with fewer than 2 oral medications. They achieved a weight reduction of >7% after 12 weeks.

These results indicate that a subset of obese patients with type 2 diabetes is appropriate for intensive lifestyle intervention with the aim of inducing diabetes remission.

Citation:  Mottalib A1, Sakr M1, Shehabeldin M1, Hamdy O1. Diabetes Remission after Nonsurgical Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research. 2015; 2015: 468704. doi: 10.1155/2015/468704. Epub 2015 May 31.