It is a well-established fact that being overweight is a major risk factor for diabetes. In a new study however, scientists found that even normal weight people are at risk of this condition and are even more likely to die from it.
The surprising results came from a study carried out by a team of researchers from the Northwestern University in Chicago in the US. It involved 2,625 individuals over the age of 40 who were diagnosed with diabetes type 2. To determine the link between weight and the risk of diabetes, the study participants were classified into overweight and normal weight groups. They were considered normal weight when their BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.99. The percentage of those who had been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 when they were in normal weight ranges from 9 to 21%, with an average of 12%.
Normal-weight people genetically prone to diabetes type 2?
During their follow-up, 449 of the patients died. 6.8% of them died from heart problems while 10.4% from non-cardiovascular diseases. When compared to those who were overweight at the time of diagnosis, the researchers were surprised to find that there’s a higher mortality rate among normal weight patients. There’s no specific reason for this yet, knowing that obesity is a prominent risk factor for diabetes. The researchers suggest that it could be possible that normal-weight people have a different genetic profile than the obese ones, as revealed by previous studies.
If the same genetic variants linked to diabetes were also associated with other forms of illness, it is possible then that normal weight individuals are genetically loaded towards higher mortality rate, the researchers explained.
Preventing and managing diabetes
The study suggests that obese people diagnosed with diabetes 2 have more chances of improving than normal-weight people, commented Dr Richard Elliott, research communications officer at Diabetes UK . This doesn’t mean however that people should start ignoring their weight problems and forget about dieting and exercising. More research must be done to support the study. One thing is clear – being overweight remains to be a health issue which isn’t just linked to diabetes but many other health problems as well.
Perhaps, this study tells us that even if we have normal weight, we should not be complacent with our health and become less careful of what we eat. To prevent diabetes, doctors recommend keeping a healthy lifestyle – eating vegetables and fruits, monitoring insulin levels, getting appropriate treatment, and undergoing regular physical exercise.