Increased obesity accelerates onset of type 2 diabetes


WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – There is a strong inverse linear relationship between body mass index (BMI) and age at which type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, investigators report in the September issue of Diabetes Care. This finding runs counter to the hypothesis that there is a single threshold of obesity that determines the risk of diabetes onset, they add.

Dr. Teresa A. Hillier and Kathryn L. Pedula of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, evaluated 2437 adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 1996 and 1998.

Of the subjects 277 subjects diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 45 years old, the average BMI was 39 kg/m², which was significantly higher than the average BMI of 33 kg/m² of those diagnosed at older ages (p < 0.001). The mean BMI was 28.8 kg/m² in subjects over the age of 70.

"Almost half [of those with early onset type 2 diabetes] had high blood pressure, and the majority had a poor cholesterol profile," Dr. Hillier told Reuters Health. "Presumably, these younger adults [who] are developing diabetes at a young age are also going to be developing heart disease several decades earlier."

Obese young adults with hypertension or high cholesterol should therefore be screened for diabetes, she concludes–"and vice versa."

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