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Obesity and type 2 diabetes grow in tandem, along with the health risks, research finds

November 24, 2009 | 12:46 pm

Escalating obesity rates are no secret in this country, but seeing the statistics is a sober reminder of the health risks of being severely overweight.

Ktdez2nc A study published last week in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications provided some numbers on obesity and morbid obesity among diabetics and non-diabetics in the U.S., showing how weight has increased over the years. Researchers from Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois looked at data from the National Health and Examination Surveys from 1976 through 2006. They focused on body mass index, waist circumference and prevalence of obesity (a BMI of 30 or more) and morbid obesity (a BMI of 40 or more) for 4,162 men and women with type 2 diabetes, and 40,376 without.

Among adults with type 2 diabetes, over the 20 years average BMI increased 17%. Among nondiabetics it rose 11.5%. Total obesity among adults with diabetes increased by 58%, and among adults without diabetes it rose by 136%. Morbid obesity rose by 141% among diabetics and 345% among non-diabetics. All groups showed a significant growth in waist circumference.

The study also found that one out of five people with type 2 diabetes is morbidly obese, and among African Americans with type 2 diabetes, one out of three is obese.

Among the culprits for the rise in figures, say researchers, are the availability of inexpensive food, larger portions of food, and soda consumption.

In the study, the authors wrote, "The rapid rise of obesity among adults with type 2 diabetes has important implications for the future health of this population. Although cardiovascular risk among adults with type 2 diabetes remains high, obesity itself heightens risk of cardiovascular mortality, especially among women."

-Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press

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