Obesity is the reason in up to 50% of new type-2 diabetes cases among Americans each year, according to estimates in a new study
Researchers found that over 20 yrs, obesity contributed to anywhere from 30% to 53% of new type 2 diabetes diagnoses among middle-aged and older Americans. That higher percentage was seen in recent years, as the prevalence of obesity rose nationally.
“It very clearly looks like trends in obesity and type 2 diabetes run parallel to each other,” said study author Dr. Sadiya Khan, an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
It is well known that obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which arises when the body loses sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar. It seems that lots of fat changes body cells in a way that makes it harder for them to use insulin, according to the US National Institutes of Health.
Type 2 diabetes can eventually lead to complications like heart disease, kidney failure, damage to the nerves in the eyes, and loss of limbs.
In the US more than 31-M people have diabetes and the vast majority of whom have type 2, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new findings highlight the impact of obesity on those numbers.
The findings imply that many cases of type 2 diabetes could be averted through measures like healthy eating and regular exercise.
Years of rising obesity rates have made it clear that simply telling Americans to change their habits does not work.
Some Americans face big challenges. They may not have the resources or time to make healthy meals at home, or the time and/or safe places for exercise. So, they eat junk food, drink soda and do not exercise.
The findings, published on 10 February in the Journal of the American Heart Association are based on 2 large, ongoing studies tracking Americans’ health and lifestyle habits.
One followed middle-aged and older adults for a decade, finding that almost 12% developed type 2 diabetes during that time. The odds were much higher among obese participants: 20% were diagnosed with diabetes, versus 7% of other adults.
The other data source was the federal government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which periodically collects health information from a nationally representative sample of Americans.
Putting the two studies together, the research team calculated the number of new diabetes cases that could be attributed to obesity.
By the end of the study frame, 2013-2016 an estimated 53% of diabetes diagnoses could be tied to obesity.
Obesity had the biggest impact on White women’s diabetes risk, and a lesser one for Black and Hispanic Americans.
The good news is the studies have left “no question” that lifestyle measures can cut the risk of diabetes.
For people who are obese, even a modest amount of weight loss brings benefits. The most important factor is that these changes need to be a lifestyle, and not temporary changes.
For low-income people community health clinics and churches can be resources for information and motivation.
Exercise does not have to involve a gym: Running in place, using canned food as weights, and parking far from the grocery store entrance, walking to it, then taking a couple of laps around it are simple ways to fit healthy activity into the day.
And of course eating Real food, it is cheaper that Rx medicines.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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