Few trials have tested lifestyle interventions on older people with type 2 diabetes...until now.

Researchers randomly assigned 100 sedentary adults aged 65 to 85 with type 2 diabetes and overweight or obesity to either an intensive lifestyle intervention or a control group that had monthly sessions about a healthy diet. 

A dietitian helped the intensive group eat a diet with sufficient protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and 500 to 750 fewer calories a day. The group also did 90 minutes of aerobic and resistance training three times a week.

After a year, the intensive group had lost 18 pounds (the control group lost virtually zero) and gained more strength and fitness and had lower hemoglobin A1c (a long-term measure of blood sugar) and better insulin sensitivity.

What to do

Got type 2 diabetes? Medicare covers behavioral therapy for obesity, and some Medicare Advantage plans offer gym memberships.

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