New Grant Will Advance Study of Long-Term Interventions on Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics have received a $2.58 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to study of the long-term impacts of weight reduction and other lifestyle changes on Type 2 diabetes.

Dana P. Goldman, PhD, Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair and director of the USC Schaeffer Center, is co-principal investigator (PI) for the project, along with co-PI Peter Huckfeldt, PhD, associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota. The project consortium also includes Seth Seabury, director of the Keck-Schaeffer Initiative for Population Health at the USC Schaeffer Center and researchers at Wake Forest University.

Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Furthermore, poor control of diabetes is associated with serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness and amputation. The researchers note that control of diabetes can be achieved through adherence to diet, exercise and treatment guidelines, but compliance with prescribed regimens can be complicated and difficult.

The new project expands on NIDDK’s 11-year-long Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study, which randomized more than 5,000 Type 2 diabetes patients into two groups: one applying an intensive lifestyle intervention focused on weight reduction and the other a control group focused on diabetes support and education. Participants in the intervention group lost weight and improved diabetes control relative to the control group.

In the new study, Look AHEAD participants will be linked with data from Medicare and the Social Security Administration to determine the effects of the intervention on long-term health care utilization, employment, earnings, retirement and severe disability. The researchers will also simulate the long-term fiscal impacts of a broader, national expansion of the intensive lifestyle intervention.

The results of this study will provide important evidence on the broader benefits of successful lifestyle interventions for diabetes and characterize the impact of improved diabetes control on functional status and economic outcomes.

NIDDK, the fifth-largest division of the National Institutes of Health, supports clinical research on the diseases of internal medicine and related subspecialty fields, as well as many basic science disciplines.

Established in 2009, the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics is a unique collaboration between the USC School of Pharmacy and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. The Schaeffer Center aims to measurably improve value in health through evidence-based policy solutions, research excellence, transformative education, and private and public sector engagement.