Dr. Belalcazar is interested in understanding the effects of interventions that improve adipose tissue function in people with diabetes, particularly as they relate to improvements in physical activity and dietary intake. Most of her time is devoted to her work in Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes), a multicenter randomized clinical trial evaluating the effects of a behavioral lifestyle intervention for weight loss on cardiovascular disease in obese persons with diabetes. This study has not only revealed that people with diabetes who modify their diet and physical activity behaviors lose significant weight and maintain their weight loss long-term but also that improvements in glucose control, HDL-cholesterol and fitness may improve adipose tissue function, independently of weight loss.
Dr. Belalcazar enjoys translating the findings of her research in the clinic when seeing patients with diabetes who are overweight or obese. She is also enthusiastic in teaching medical students the importance of a multi-risk intervention approach when caring for individuals with diabetes or other conditions of increased cardiovascular risk, highlighting the importance of lifestyle behavior change as an important therapeutic component.