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21 Nov 2017
SingHealth Launches New Study on Pre-Diabetes in Singapore
  • 850 participants with pre-diabetes to be recruited to understand effectiveness of lifestyle and pharmacological interventions in reducing conversion to diabetes

Singapore, 21 November 2017 - SingHealth Duke-NUS Diabetes Centre in collaboration with the Health Promotion Board and Singapore Clinical Research Institute have commenced a new study to understand the effectiveness of a diabetes prevention programme in Singapore. The study is endorsed by the National Diabetes Prevention and Care Taskforce, and funded by the Ministry of Health.

The Pre-DICTED (Pre-Diabetes Interventions & Continued Tracking to Ease out Diabetes) programme, which consists of lifestyle and pharmacological interventions, is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of developing diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be in the diabetes range. Individuals with pre-diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Evidence from other countries has shown that lifestyle interventions and the use of anti-diabetic medication such as metformin can effectively reduce the conversion to diabetes. In Singapore, one in seven adults aged 18 to 69 has pre-diabetes; the data that we gather from the study will be critical in helping us understand the impact of such interventions on our local population. We will also be able to evaluate if this should be the new standard of care to prevent diabetes in Singapore,” said Dr Bee Yong Mong, Head, SingHealth Duke-NUS Diabetes Centre and Senior Consultant, Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital.

Prevalence of Pre-Diabetes in Singapore

Pre-diabetes may be categorised as impaired fasting glucose (IFG), where the individual’s fasting sugar level is higher than normal, or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), where the two-hour sugar level after the oral glucose tolerance test is higher than normal.

According to the National Health Survey 2010, 14.4 per cent of Singapore residents aged 18 to 69 years had IGT. If left unattended, 35 per cent of those with IGT will develop diabetes over the next eight years[1]. They may also develop complications such as coronary heart disease and stroke.

Scope of Pre-DICTED Study

SingHealth aims to recruit 850 local participants with pre-diabetes, administer lifestyle and pharmacological interventions, and monitor the diabetes conversion rate for a period of three years for each participant. Participants will be randomly assigned to two groups: the standard care group and the treatment group.

Participants in the standard care group will be referred to primary care providers for individual lifestyle counselling and follow-up care. They will also undergo health checks every six months to monitor their condition.

Participants in the treatment group will attend a series of group-based lifestyle intervention programme for six weeks. At the classes, participants will be coached on healthy eating habits and participate in group exercises. In addition, cash incentives will be offered to those who have achieved and maintained a five per cent or more weight loss from their baseline weight.

After six months, participants in the treatment group who are at high risk of developing diabetes despite the lifestyle interventions will be prescribed metformin. Metformin is the first line medication used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes but it has also been shown to be effective in preventing diabetes among individuals with pre-diabetes.

All participants will undergo health checks every six months during which blood tests will be done to monitor their condition.

“This is a high-impact public health study as the results will provide guidance on how we can prevent diabetes in this group of high-risk patients,” said Associate Professor Teoh Yee Leong, public health physician and CEO of Singapore Clinical Research Institute.

SingHealth is recruiting individuals aged 18 to 64 who have a Body Mass Index of 23 or above, and have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes to take part in the Pre-DICTED study. Interested individuals can call 9115 6276 or email predicted@singhealth.com.sg. More information on Pre-DICTED can be found on www.predicted.com.sg.

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