• Impaired glucose tolerance;
  • Diet;
  • Exercise;
  • Health education

Thirty-one subjects with impaired glucose tolerance were randomly allocated to a group receiving advice to improve their diet and physical activity levels over 6 months (n = 23) or to a control group (n = 8). At 6 months, 18 of the 23 subjects receiving ‘healthy living’ advice were re-examined (five subjects had withdrawn). Fourteen of the 18 subjects showed an alteration in diet or an increase in exercise. The 18 subjects re-evaluated showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure (118 ± 15 vs 124 ± 15 mmHg, p < 0.05) and decrease in total plasma cholesterol (4.5 ± 1 vs 5.2 ± 1 mmol I−1, p < 0.01) and LDL-cholesterol levels (2.8 ± 0.9 vs 3.2 ± 0.9 mmol I−1, p < 0.05). Plasma glucose levels were unchanged. One subject withdrew from the control group. At 6 months, the seven control subjects examined showed no significant change in metabolic parameters, with little measurable change in diet or exercise. At 2 years, 17 of the 23 ‘healthy living’ subjects were reassessed. Nine of the subjects had continued to exercise or maintained a decreased weight compared to baseline. Fasting plasma glucose levels had increased (6.0 ± 1.2 vs 5.5 ± 0.6 mmol I−1, p < 0.05) with the only continued improvement being a reduced LDL level (2.8 ± 0.7 vs 3.1 ± 0.9 mmol I−1, p < 0.05). At 2 years, a similar proportion of the control group were taking regular exercise compared with the ‘healthy living’ group. In conclusion, a 6-month training programme altered diet and exercise patterns with beneficial effects on blood pressure and plasma lipid levels, but except for LDL cholesterol these changes were not maintained once support was withdrawn.