CAM Cost EffectivenessDiabetes Mellitus

Cost-effectiveness of lifestyle changes in diabetes patients

Lifestyle changes may reduce cardiovascular risk and the risk of diabetes mellitus.

Researchers at Umea University in Sweden studied the long term cost-effectiveness of a lifestyle educational program.

First, the details.

  • 151 adults at moderate-to-high risk for cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to a treatment program.
    • Lifestyle changes (supervised exercise sessions and diet counseling for 3 months, followed by regular group meetings over 3 years) + standard care
    • Standard care alone.
  • Cost-effectiveness was described using the net monetary benefit method (difference in cost of treatment between groups).

And, the results.

  • There was a net savings of $47 per participant in the lifestyle group.
  • This is based on $337 higher cost to pay for the program, which was more than offset by the $384 savings in office visit costs.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Lifestyle intervention in primary care… is highly cost-effective in relation to standard care.”

The study is important because it looks at the long-term effects of lifestyle changes on the cost of care and finds that the number of visits to the primary care doctor was reduced leading to a cost savings.

In 2009, a review of the cost-effectiveness of lifestyle changes in people with diabetes concluded, “Implementation of lifestyle interventions would probably yield important health benefits at reasonable costs. However, essential evidence for long-term maintenance of health benefits was limited.”

This study addresses that need.

9/15/10 16:11 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.