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Excess weight and diabetes

The relationship between excess weight and type 2 diabetes

There is a very strong relationship between being overweight and the development of type 2 diabetes. The great majority of individuals, perhaps up to 80%, who have type 2 diabetes are also overweight, and most overweight individuals will at some time, sooner than later, develop insulin resistance and then develop this chronic disease. Unfortunately, recent studies show that the rates of obesity have increased in children and young adults.

A recent study in the Journal of the Endocrine Society reported that obese children had a 4 times higher probability of developing type 2 diabetes compared to normal weight children. This means that they will probably develop type 2 diabetes at an earlier age and then develop many of the associated chronic diseases, such as blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage and heart disease.

This unfortunate development will cost those individuals a reduction in the quality of their life (you can't play sports when you have had a toe, foot or leg amputated because of diabetic vascular complications) and it will cost them and our society more money to care for those complications.

However, the good news is that for most overweight individuals, a weight loss of about 10% of their current weight can help to delay, manage and in some cases even prevent type 2 diabetes.

Physical activity can also help with the management of this chronic destructive disease, since muscle activity increases the use of blood sugar as a metabolic fuel and causes a reduction of blood sugar. Also, with regular physical activity and some weight loss, many type 2 diabetic patients can reduce the amount of diabetic medications they need, and in some cases even reduce or prevent the need for insulin.

While there is a definite genetic component to developing diabetes type 1, type 2 diabetes is closely linked to the overweight condition, so maintaining a healthy and stable weight, with regular physical activity are two of the best and least expensive ways to deal with the condition of type 2 diabetes.

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