© 2014 Appuhamy et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Background and aims: Fasting insulin (FI), fasting glucose (FG), systolic blood pressure (SBP), high density lipoproteins (HDL), triacylglycerides (TAG), and body mass index (BMI) are well-known risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Reliable estimates of lifestyle intervention effects on these factors allow diabetes risk to be predicted accurately. The present meta-analyses were conducted to quantitatively summarize effects of diet and exercise intervention programs on FI, FG, SBP, HDL, TAG and BMI in adults without diabetes. Materials and methods: MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched to find studies involving diet plus exercise interventions. Studies were required to use adults not diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, involve both dietary and exercise counseling, and include changes in diabetes risk factors as outcome measures. Data from 18, 24, 23, 30, 29 and 29 studies were used for the analyses of FI, FG, SBP, HDL, TAG and BMI, respectively. About 60% of the studies included exclusively overweight or obese adults. Mean age and BMI of participants at baseline were 48 years and 30.1 kg/m2. Heterogeneity of intervention effects was first estimated using random-effect models and explained further with mixed-effects models. Results: Adults receiving diet and exercise education for approximately one year experienced significant (P <0.001) reductions in FI (-2.56±0.58 mU/L), FG (-0.18±0.04 mmol/L), SBP (-2.77±0.56 mm Hg), TAG (-0.258±0.037 mmol/L) and BMI (-1.61±0.13 kg/m2). These risk factor changes were related to a mean calorie intake reduction of 273 kcal/d, a mean total fat intake reduction of 6.3%, and 40 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise four times a week. Lifestyle intervention did not have an impact on HDL. More than 99% of total variability in the intervention effects was due to heterogeneity. Variability in calorie and fat intake restrictions, exercise type and duration, length of the intervention period, and the presence or absence of glucose, insulin, or lipid abnormalities explained 23-63% of the heterogeneity. Conclusions: Calorie and total fat intake restrictions coupled with moderate intensity aerobic exercises significantly improved diabetes risk factors in healthy normoglycemic adults although normoglycemic adults with glucose, insulin, and lipid abnormalities appear to benefit more.