Obesity and Diabetes

Several medical conditions can occur as a result of obesity, and diabetes is one of them. Specifically, obesity can contribute to developing type 2 diabetes, which can increase a person's risk for premature death. Some of the ways to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes include exercising regularly, reducing caloric intake, and losing weight.

Can Obesity Cause Diabetes?

One of the major problems associated with obesity is the development of type 2 diabetes, formally known as adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease, as it can cause complications that could increase a person's chances for premature death.

Diabetes and Obesity: What's the Risk?

Compared to adults who are at a healthy weight (BMI values from 18.5 to 24.9), those with a BMI of 40 or higher (morbidly obese) have seven times the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.
Among the people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 67 percent are overweight or obese and 46 percent are obese. An estimated 70 percent of diabetes risk in the United States can be attributed to excess weight (see Diabetes Risk Factors for more information).

Childhood Obesity and Diabetes

For children, being overweight also increases their risk of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was once rare in American children. Now, it accounts for 8 to 45 percent of newly diagnosed diabetes cases in children and adolescents (type 1 diabetes is still more common in children).

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Through Lifestyle Changes

You can do a lot to lower your chances of getting diabetes. Some of the ways to help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing fat and calorie intake
  • Losing weight.
Two studies have shown that weight loss can prevent diabetes. One study found that lifestyle modifications that resulted in a weight loss of 5 to 7 percent of body weight could delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. These lifestyle modifications consisted of exercising about 30 minutes a day, five days a week (usually by walking), and lowering the intake of fat and calories. Lifestyle modifications were even more effective in people who were 60 years and older -- they reduced their risk by 71 percent.
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