Diabetes and Obesity

November 12, 2012

Diabetes and Obesity

A study published online for the September issue of the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine has found that the length of time someone is overweight or obese increases the risk of that person developing diabetes. The fact that obesity increases the risk of diabetes is not a new discovery, what is different in this report is the statement that the length of time someone is overweight also adds to the risk.

Because younger generations are producing more obese children then, unless they do something to lose weight, they will be obese for longer than many people before them. The researchers from the University of Michigan warn that an increasing number of minors are going to spend more years obese.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Joyce Lee, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, says that the study identified the link between weight and type 2 diabetes comparable to the association between the risk of lung cancer and smoking. Furthermore the number of extra kilos that someone carries and the number of years that they have been overweight “dramatically increases the risk of diabetes”. She then adds, “This has the potential to continue to push up rates of diabetes in the United States”.

It is already known that the U.S. has a major issue with childhood obesity, with younger children becoming heavier than their predecessors at the same age. Responding to the increased risk identified because of the time spent being overweight Lee says, “When you add the findings from this study, rates of diabetes in the United States may rise even higher than previously predicted”.

The study looked at about 8,000 teenagers and young adults and from the information derived the Body Mass Index (BMI) from each person was calculated. (BMI is a calculation relating to height compared to weight used to grade people into certain weight categories such as normal weight, overweight, obese and morbidly obese.) The length of time they had been that weight was also known. It was found that if someone was classed as overweight (BMI over 25) or obese (BMI over 35) then their risk of developing diabetes was higher than comparable people who were normal weight.

It was also noted that if someone had a BMI of 35 for 10 years then they were classified as having 100 years of excess weight. This can be considered as cumulative the researchers say. Another finding was that when comparing people with the same BMIs that Hispanic youngsters had double the risk of developing diabetes than white youngsters and black youngsters were one and a half times more likely to get diabetes.

The researchers say that because of their findings they recommend that obesity prevention programs should focus on children and teenagers and target Hispanics and blacks in particular.

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