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Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity

One of the major health effects of obesity is the development of type 2 diabetes. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. This was formerly known as adult-onset diabetes. About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. Diabetes is a serious disease, because there are numerous complications associated with it that increase a person's chances for premature death. Type 2 diabetes is associated with:
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Previous history of gestational diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Ethnicity.
(Click Diabetes Risk Factors for more information about what can increase a person's chances of developing this condition.)
Link to Obesity
More than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. It is not known exactly why people who are overweight are more likely to suffer from this disease. It may be that being overweight causes cells to change, making them less effective at using sugar from the blood. This then puts stress on the cells that produce insulin (a hormone that carries sugar from the blood to cells) and makes them gradually fail.
Impact of Weight Loss
You can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight and increasing the amount of physical activity you do. A recent study showed that lifestyle modifications resulting in a 5 to 7 percent weight loss could delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help you control your blood sugar levels (see Diabetes and Exercise). Losing weight and exercising more may also allow you to reduce the amount of diabetes medication you take.
(Click Diabetes Prevention for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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