Research Manager, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Dr Jaana Lindström, MSc, PhD, Adjunct Professor works as a Research Manager and team leader in the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Her background is in nutrition sciences (MSc) and she is specifically interested in the possibilities of preventing the development of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases with lifestyle interventions. She has over 25 year’s research experience in the field, beginning from the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS). Lindström is also the developer of the Finnish Diabetes Risk Score FINDRISC, a simple screening tool to identify individuals at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The other research projects she is presently involved include the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER), Stop Diabetes – Knowledge-based solutions (StopDia), Early Prevention of Diabetes Complications in Europe (ePREDICE), and Families across Europe following a healthy lifestyle for diabetes prevention (Feel4Diabetes).
Almost 20 years ago, the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study proved in controlled and individually randomized design that type 2 diabetes (T2D) is preventable by providing intensive and individualised lifestyle counselling for people with impaired glucose tolerance. The lifestyle advice was based on general recommendations of the time, emphasizing high intake of fibre-rich foods such as whole grains and vegetables and fruit, low intake of saturated fat, and regular strength and endurance exercise. The better these goals were achieved by the individual participants, the larger was T2D risk reduction. Furthermore, the prevention effect was sustained long after the intervention phase. Post-hoc analyses of the trial data have shed light on many important questions, such as who benefits from the intervention most and what is the pathophysiology behind the development of T2D.