Losing a modest amount of weight may help women with diabetes avoid developing urinary incontinence, according to a California Polytechnic State University study. Extra weight, especially around the waist, and type 2 diabetes are both risk factors for urinary incontinence. In the study, 2,739 middle-aged to older women were randomly assigned to participate in either a diet and exercise program or a diabetes education program. Those who engaged in the exercise and diet program were encouraged to cut calories and exercise for three hours a week. The other women received three diabetes education sessions. The women in the diet and exercise group lost an average of 17 pounds and had lower rates of urinary incontinence, with the risk falling by three percent for every two pounds lost. Only 10.5 percent of this group developed new problems with incontinence after one year, compared with 14 percent of women in the study who did not engage in the exercise and diet program. However, weight loss did not help women who were already having problems with urinary leakage. "We aren`t sure why weight loss appeared to impact prevention but not resolution of urinary incontinence," says lead researcher Suzanne Phelan. "It`s possible that weight loss is more effective at preventing, rather than treating, urine leakage. Or there may simply have been too few women with existing urinary incontinence to detect an effect of weight loss." The lowered rates of urinary incontinence may have been due to lowered blood sugar levels or higher levels of fitness in the diet and exercise group.