Do you need some tips for a healthy lifestyle? We all strive to live a healthy lifestyle, yet we lack to tools to change our current behavior patterns.

StopDia is a Danish organization that aims to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Their website has an online quiz to help identify people who might have the disease and not know it.

StopDia recently conducted a study to identify effective tips for a healthy lifestyle. The research yielded promising preliminary results in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Research on Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

What they found was that a combination of lifestyle guidance in a group and a mobile app that supports the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits helped the study participants to reduce their waist circumference and improve their dietary habits. One example is that their fruit and vegetable consumption increased.

The StopDia study examined how to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, not only by providing individual lifestyle support, but also by changing the living environment. Environment has a powerful impact on decision-making and behavior. Decisions are only partly based on conscious deliberation. A great deal of daily choices occur automatically—often unnoticed.

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.

Selection of Study Participants

Here is how the participants were recruited:

  • They found that the best way to reach people and get them involved in the study was through social media and the editorial content of newspapers.
  • In particular, news articles with personal interviews brought vast numbers of people to the risk screening website.
  • The visibility acquired through social media, on the other hand, is mostly subject to a charge.
  • In any case, to be successful, informing still requires content that the target group finds interesting.
  • More than half of the StopDia participants with an elevated FINDRISC score in the digital screening already had a glucose metabolism disorder.
  • The FINDRISC score is a simple score developed to assess risk of diabetes.
  • The study showed that the Finnish Diabetes Risk Score (FINDRISC), the most widely used risk test for type 2 diabetes in the world, effectively identified people at increased risk without laboratory testing.
  • In addition, 5 percent were diagnosed with previously undetected diabetes.
  • The study also revealed that healthcare reaches only a small proportion of people who would benefit from preventive activities.

According to Jaana Lindström, research manager and developer of the FINDRISC screening tool says:

  • Men traditionally are less interested to take part in health promotion campaigns and studies.
  • Their participation was most effectively promoted by a word from a friend or a relative.
  • Many men pointed out that ‘the wife urged me to come.”
  • The information disseminated in workplaces reached women in particular.

How the Lifestyle Change Research was Conducted

This is how the study was conducted:

According to Professor Timo Lakka, from University of Eastern Finland, co-principal investigator of the StopDia study:

  • The study used the BitHabit application that supports the adoption of healthy lifestyles for a year.
  • At the same time group guidance was provided to the participants.
  • The purpose of the BitHabit application is to automate the adoption of new habits and to generate a sustainable behavior change.
  • The application allowed the participants to make healthy choices that suited them and tick them as accomplished.
  • The new habit may be, for example, taking healthy snacks to eat between meals at work, so that hunger in the afternoon does not cause fatigue and unhealthy choices.
  • Surprisingly, the application was used more actively by the older participants.

Lifestyle Change Study Results

  • The study participants improved their diets during the course of the study.
  • They also narrowed their waist circumferences.
  • These 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 savory and sweet delicacies.
  • Performing restoring break exercise, such as stretching, was also more common at the end of the study.
  • These preliminary results are promising and encourage us to continue the development and use of the model.

Click here to get tips for a healthy lifestyle.