Newcastle researcher awarded for tackling type 2 diabetes in men

University of Newcastle researcher and PhD candidate Elroy Aguiar has been awarded for his research into the prevention of type 2 diabetes in Australian men by Sports Medicine Australia.

Taking home the Asics Medal for Best Paper Overall at Sports Medicine Australia’s be active 2014 conference last week, Mr Aguiar’s research examined how a self-administered, gender-tailored lifestyle intervention can lower risk factors for type 2 diabetes in Australian men.

Judged by a panel of internationally renowned health, physical activity and sports medicine and science leaders, Mr Aguiar’s groundbreaking research was the standout of more than 300 research papers presented during the be active 2014  conference.

Mr Aguiar said it is vitally important that effective and sustainable approaches are taken to reduce the disease burden of diabetes in Australia.

“Diabetes and pre-diabetes currently affect 3.2 million Australians, and with 280 people developing the disease each day it is now considered to be the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia,” Mr Aguiar said.

“Self-administered lifestyle interventions – where there is no face-to-face contact for intervention delivery – are likely to cost less and allow for widespread dissemination of the program, for example in community settings or rural and remote areas.

“Our research examined the effectiveness of a multi-component lifestyle intervention, targeting the modification of diet, exercise and weight loss to determine their impact on a range of risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

“By tailoring the program to men specifically, we were also ensuring the intervention resources were designed to cater for the psychological needs and preferences of men.

“We found that this self-administered lifestyle intervention elicited greater improvements in weight loss – approximately 5kg – as well as several other type 2 diabetes risk factors when compared to the control group over 6 months.

“This is an important finding as it clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of a self-administered intervention for type 2 diabetes prevention among men, compared to a traditional face-to-face approach.”

Mr Aguiar said he was excited at the prospect of helping individuals improve their lifestyle and change their health for the better.

“Coming from a biomedical science undergraduate background, the idea of working with people, rather than cells in a dish was very appealing,” Mr Aguiar said.

“Our next step is to refine the intervention program components and roll out a larger trial to assess the long term efficacy and cost-effectiveness of self-administered lifestyle intervention programs such as this one.”

be active 2014 was held in Canberra from 15 – 18 October, www.beactive2014.org


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