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GDRC receives funding from BRiDGES-IDF for diabetes intervention study

15 February 2008

The Global Diabetes Research Center, a collaborative research effort between the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (Chennai, India) and Emory University (Atlanta, USA), has been selected for funding from the International Diabetes Federation’s BRiDGES initiative of a diabetes intervention program. The goal of the program is to implement and evaluate a culturally appropriate, low-cost, and sustainable lifestyle intervention for the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in Chennai, India.

Prevention of T2DM is a critical public health priority for India and other South Asians. India leads the world with 40 million cases of diabetes and is projected to have nearly 80 million people with diabetes by 2030. Indians and other South Asian populations are especially susceptible to cardio-metabolic diseases, including T2DM, and have higher rates of cardio-metabolic risk factors (such as central adiposity and high insulin resistance), which often present at younger ages than in other populations. South Asians appear to have larger fat mass, smaller lean mass, and lower glucose disposal compared to Caucasians,7 further increasing their risk of developing T2DM.

For the study, 700 people with pre-diabetes will be randomized to receive either standard lifestyle advice or a culturally specific lifestyle intervention. The 16-week intervention will include culturally appropriate exercise (e.g., walking, strength training, and yoga-based stretching); lifestyle classes focusing on behavior change and modifying the Indian diet for weight loss, portion control, and making healthy food choices; peer support groups; and use of lay educators for teaching and support.

The intervention will be followed by a less intensive 8-week maintenance period and 6-12 months of additional follow-up.  Program effectiveness will be measured by longitudinal regression models with diabetes incidence and changes in secondary outcomes (including body composition, fasting glucose, plasma lipids, activity, and diet) as outcome measures. Cost-effectiveness of the lifestyle intervention will be determined by assessing the incremental costs and benefits per: case of diabetes prevented and Quality-adjusted Life-year.  The acceptability and sustainability of the program will be determined through focus group discussions and interviews with intervention participants.  

Data from this study will be used to design and advocate for the implementation of scalable, low-cost, culturally specific lifestyle interventions for the prevention of diabetes in India and other South Asian countries.


BRiDGES is a programme initiated by the International Diabetes Federation, and supported by an educational grant from Eli Lilly and Company. BRiDGES aims to fund translational research projects in diabetes prevention and treatment to provide the opportunity to ‘translate’ lessons learned from clinical research to those who can benefit most: people affected by diabetes.

About the International Diabetes Federation

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is a worldwide alliance of over 200 diabetes associations in more than 160 countries, who have come together to enhance the lives of people with diabetes everywhere. For over 50 years, IDF has been at the vanguard of global diabetes advocacy. The Federation is committed to raising global awareness of diabetes, promoting appropriate diabetes care and prevention, and encouraging activities towards finding a cure for the different types of diabetes. It is the mission of IDF to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.

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