Many chronic non-communicable diseases are at least partly caused by unhealthy lifestyles; an example is type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Lifestyle interventions have been shown to substantially reduce the risk of T2DM in high-risk patients. The risk reduction diminishes over time, but a long-term (> ten years) reduction is still achieved. Better compliance with the intervention and higher quality of lifestyle counselling during a longer period of time are predictors of improved long-term risk reduction. In patients with established T2DM, lifestyle intervention can be of great benefit as well. This can result in remission in a substantial proportion of the patients (12-46%) over a one-year period. A Mediterranean diet, which is low in both refined, starch-rich foods and high-sugar drinks, seems to result in the best outcomes. However, again the compliance and quality of lifestyle counselling are of crucial importance. Lifestyle medicine deserves serious attention in clinical practice.
Conflict of interest and financial support: potential conflicts of interest have been reported for this article. ICMJE forms provided by the authors are available online along with the full text of this article.