Public description of the goals at the beginning of the project
Adopting a healthy lifestyle and preventing lifestyle-related diseases is challenging in the current society. Our objective is to empower individuals with increased risk for type 2 diabetes in adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle. We aim to achieve this by combining individual level intervention with changes in living environment to support healthy behaviors, and by identifying societal barriers and facilitators for the implementation. We will study how healthy lifestyle can be supported by individual level solutions utilizing digitalization and by altering living environment to make healthy choices preferred and easier. The effects of developed solutions on lifestyle, risk of T2D and other lifestyle-related diseases and societal costs will be examined at three hospital districts. The active cooperation with the public sector and the key actors of civic society will ensure direct integration of developed solutions into Finnish society.
Public description of the results at the end of the project
Aims of the study as stated in the research plan were to develop and test approaches to empower individuals in adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The aims were achieved by combining individual and environment level strategies into a dual-process approach targeting conscious, deliberative and non-conscious, automatic processes of behaviour that will improve the identification of individuals at risk and help them in adoption of a healthier lifestyle. The research also included the level of the society and economy.
The effectiveness of individual interventions in changing lifestyle and in improving glucose tolerance was tested in a one-year randomized controlled trial among more than 3000 individuals at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. The intervention was performed as part of the normal health care system functions.
The StopDia study yielded promising preliminary results in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle guidance in a group and application that supports the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits helped StopDia participants to reduce their waist circumference and improve their dietary habits. For example, their fruit and vegetable consumption increased.
The StopDia at Work study aimed at altering the choice architecture of working environments to facilitate healthy dietary choices and physical activity at the workplace. This approach, also known as nudging, differs from the more conventional methods used for promoting wellbeing at work, such as campaigns and sports benefits. Preliminary results suggest that the consumption of vegetables, fruit and nuts during working hours among the employees of participating workplaces was greater at the end of the study compared to the beginning of the study. No difference was observed in the consumption of savoury and sweet delicacies. Performing restoring break exercise, such as stretching, was also more common at the end of the study.
Professor Jussi Pihlajamäki
University of Eastern Finland