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Volunteers sought for landmark Type 2 diabetes study

"Look AHEAD: Action for Health in Diabetes," the first long-term study to explore the effects of weight loss on Type 2 diabetes, is launching at study sites nationwide including The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Look AHEAD is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Study investigators are recruiting volunteers who are between 45 and 75 years of age, have Type 2 diabetes, and are overweight or obese. Participants will be followed for up to 11 years and will be paid about $100 per year. "We have an enormous opportunity to learn more about the role long-term weight loss can play in improving the health of overweight individuals with Type 2 diabetes," said Steven M. Haffner, M.D., professor of medicine and principal investigator for the San Antonio segment of the Look AHEAD study.

Look AHEAD will focus on Type 2 diabetes — the disease most affected by overweight and obesity — and its association with cardiovascular disease. More than 60 percent of adults in America are considered overweight. The percentage of obese Americans has risen from 16 percent to 22 percent in the past 15 years.

Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, largely due to the number of Americans who are overweight or obese. Today, 80 percent of Type 2 diabetics are overweight or obese. In addition, Type 2 diabetes is associated with a twofold to fourfold risk of coronary artery disease. And heart attacks and strokes are leading causes of death in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Participants who qualify to participate in the Look AHEAD study will be assigned at random to either its Lifestyle Program or its Diabetes Support and Education Program. The Lifestyle Program is an intensive diet and exercise program designed to help participants lose 7 percent to 10 percent of their initial weight in the first year of the study. Weight-loss medications will be used for some participants if needed. The Diabetes Support and Education Program will provide sessions on nutrition and physical activity. These participants will not receive an intensive weight loss program, but they will be able to meet in support groups with other people who have diabetes.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of 16 clinical sites. About 5,000 volunteers will be recruited throughout the United States. Funding is from the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Other sponsors are the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Nursing Research; the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities; the Office of Research on Women's Health; and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Look AHEAD also will look at the long-term effects of weight loss and improved fitness on a range of other diseases.

The San Antonio site for the Look AHEAD Study is located at the Ashford Oaks Building, 8122 Datapoint Drive, Suite 818. If you are between 45 and 75 years of age, have Type 2 diabetes, and are overweight or obese, please call (210) 567-4799.

Contact: Maria G. Montez, (210) 567-4799 or Will Sansom, (210) 567-2570