The DE-PLAN study in Greece – Greece


The DE-PLAN study (“Diabetes in Europe – Prevention using Lifestyle, Physical Activity and Nutritional Intervention”) is a large-scale diabetes prevention initiative, which aims to develop community-based type 2 diabetes prevention programmes for individuals at high risk across Europe. Led by the University of Helsinki, the project, realised in 17 countries, aimed at developing and testing models of efficient identifica tion and site specific intervention of individuals at high risk of type 2 diabetes in the community. The whole European DE-PLAN study aimed at implementing a lifestyle intervention programme to prevent T2DM within the national healthcare system of each participating country and by tailoring activities to the specific ‘‘real-life’’ local setting.

According to the general DE-PLAN protocol, each centre of the participating countries was allowed to follow any intervention strategy— group-based or individual-based consultation—with the objective of achieving better understanding of the disease risk from the participants and of building up motivation for an intention to change lifestyle. In the Greek site, group-based consultation interventions were chosen, as they were deemed to be more conveniently implemented, more cost-effective and efficacious from the participants’ standpoint. The previously validated Finnish Type 2 Diabetes Risk Score questionnaire was used to identify high-risk individuals for the development of T2DM. The aim was to enable participants to make informed and reasonable changes with regard to their diet, namely (a) to reduce saturated fat and trans fatty acids consumption, (b) to decrease simple sugars and sweets intake, and, in order to increase the daily fibre intake, (c) to reduce consumption of refined cereals and (d) to eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day. In Greece two types of settings were generally used for the distribution of the questionnaires and the implementation of the intervention procedure: primary-care settings and occupational settings (six centres from each type). The 1-year intervention programme consisted of six sessions (1 h each) held by a registered dietician at the area of the participants’ residence or work. Groups of 6–10 persons were constructed. In every session, information on healthy lifestyle, personal discussion and written material were provided, analysing the concept of the disease risk in general and the individual risk in particular. Social support was emphasised by the group setting and participants were also encouraged to involve their own social environment in the lifestyle changes. At study end, participants reported decreased whole fat dairies and processed meats consumption of sugars and refined cereals. Participants who improved their diet, decreased body, plasma triglycerides and 2-h post-load plasma glucose compared to those who had worsened their dietary habits. The implementation of a group-based, non-intensive dietary counselling proved to be practical and feasible in ‘‘real-world’’ community settings and was accompanied by favourable dietary changes and health benefits. Cost-effectiveness will be assessed from the general DE-PLAN project. These types of initiatives can also be expected to help reduce risk for other chronic conditions such as obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.


Additional information:

(last accessed in March 2017)

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Life Cycle Stages: Older People (>65 yrs) | Seniors (>75 yrs) | The Young Old (50-65 yrs) | Work Life | 
Main Settings: healthcare services | workplace | 
Specific Topics: diabetes prevention | 

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