Reducing diabetes risk after gestational diabetes

Primary prevention of type 2 diabetes has been shown to be effective in many parts of the world. It has been years since important studies affirmed that preventative measures such as moderate weight loss, moderate physical activity and low-fat, high fibre food choices can help offset impaired glucose tolerance from progressing to a case of  type 2 diabetes.1,2

Despite years of building the evidence, why is type 2 diabetes still an on-going epidemic? The health community often knows what works to prevent type 2 diabetes in highly controlled research studies, but doesn’t necessarily know how to usefully translate diabetes prevention into real world situations. Effective and proven programmes are desperately needed that can translate diabetes prevention research findings into programmes for people at risk for diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is also a “familial disease”. This statement emphasises not only the inherited genetic risks3 but also highlights a connection to the home environment. The importance of community context associated with type 2 diabetes risk not only includes physical surroundings or social frameworks, but also includes significant influences from the immediate family unit. There are also increasing concerns surrounding the magnified risks for obesity and metabolic disturbances for children born to mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).4 For this reason, there is some urgency to find effective, early metabolic interventions for both mothers and their offspring.