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New Study Offers Insight Into Obesity and Diabetes

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A new study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, has found that obesity and diabetes together are not as dangerous as previously believed. Researchers analyzed a number of previous studies and found that obese and overweight individuals diagnosed with diabetes live longer, on average, than leaner individuals diagnosed with the disease.

These new findings are based on 5 earlier studies that tracked adults over years to look for risk factors for heart disease. The leader of the study, Mercedes Carnethon of the Feinberg School of Medicine, noted that this so-called obesity paradox has been seen before, such as with chronic diseases like kidney failure, where gaining weight improves prognosis.

Obesity and Diabetes

By: Mr. ASDF

Carnethon explains that the extra weight doesn’t necessarily offer protection but may rather signify the leaner adults with diabetes are simply predisposed to poor health. She explains that these leaner adults may simply be genetically predisposed to diabetes and a higher mortality rate.

During the five studies, over 2,600 participants developed type 2 diabetes. 12% of these individuals were of normal weight when they received a diagnosis. The death rate for the leaner group was 2.8%, compared to only 1.5% per year for obese and overweight individuals diagnosed with diabetes.

This study accounted for many other risk factors for heart disease, including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and age. The lean adults were still found to be twice as likely to die at any given time over overweight or obese people. This statistic was also true for death by heart disease, which has been linked to obesity by many studies.

According to Carnethon, there is a possible problem with the study, as the researchers were unable to completely account for how many cigarettes individuals smoked. This alone may account for at least part of the surprising results. Another potential cause may be that some people were diagnosed with the disease before the study and were told to lose weight by a doctor. Still, Carnethon feels this would only have a very small impact on the results.

This research found an important link between obesity and diabetes and finds that it may not be dual disadvantage. Still, it’s still unclear the best way to treat individuals of normal weight with type 2 diabetes. Weight training does seem to be a better recommendation over cardio, though. Older adults and those of Asian descent are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease while they are of normal weight. Doctors should always take this diagnosis seriously even if the patient is not overweight.

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