By Curbing Obesity, Program Aims To Reduce Diabetes in Area Women

The Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, in partnership with the Fair Haven Community Health Center, has received the first Donaghue Program for Research Leadership grant from The Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Foundation.

The grant of almost $1 million dollars funds a four-year clinical outcome trial to demonstrate that interventions targeting obesity can improve health outcomes for inner-city women at risk for type 2 diabetes. Dr. William V. Tamborlane, professor and chief of pediatric endocrinology at the Yale School of Medicine, will lead the project along with a team of practitioners based at Fair Haven Community Health Center headed by Dr. Anne Camp, director of the Diabetes Program.

The project reflects a shared commitment among the Donaghue Foundation, Yale and the Fair Haven center to promote health initiatives in the greater New Haven area.

“Many of the women in our area are at risk to develop type 2 diabetes because of lack of exercise and problems with overweight. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that can result in a myriad of serious complications,” says Tamborlane, who also serves as deputy director of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation and is internationally renowned for his patient-oriented research in pathophysiology and therapeutics of diabetes, obesity and related disorders.

“With support from the Donaghue Foundation, we will be examining whether the risk of developing diabetes can be markedly reduced by an intensive healthy lifestyle program that can then be replicated in clinics across the country,” he adds.

Because obesity is a strong precursor to diabetes and pre-diabetes, the program’s focus will be on weight, diet and physical activity. Participants will be encouraged to achieve a weight loss target of 7% of their initial body weight and exercise moderately for 150 minutes per week.

To reach these goals, the study will offer nutrition education, behavior modification instruction and a structured exercise program. Participants will attend sessions three to four times per week, conducted in both Spanish and English, and behavior modifications will focus on the entire family in an effort to ensure lasting change. Participants will be encouraged to bring their children to each session to take part in fitness games and activities.

Following its completion, the program and its results will be disseminated to community health centers nationwide. By distributing the results, Yale, the Fair Haven Community Health Center and the Donaghue Foundation hope to extend the program beyond the New Haven area and help encourage its incorporation into general practice.

The Patrick & Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation was established by Ethel Donaghue in memory of her parents. The Foundation is a charitable testamentary trust dedicated to furthering the search for medical knowledge of practical benefit to human life and to the quality of the lives of people, particularly in Connecticut. The Foundation supports research on medical and health issues and initiatives to put new knowledge to work for public benefit.

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