While doctors don’t know the exact cause of diabetes, the link between obesity and diabetes is very clear. Obesity, in fact, is considered a primary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance.
Diabetes and BMI
Sedentary life styles, coupled with an abundance of easily accessible, high-calorie foods, have contributed to the rise of obesity in adults and children. The more fatty tissue you accumulate in your body, the more insulin resistant your cells become. Here are some basics about diabetes and BMI:
- A strong connection has been found between diabetes and BMI (body mass index). Healthy BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.9. If your BMI is over 40, you are at increased risk for diabetes and should begin diabetic weight loss methods.
- Currently, about 61 percent of adults and 25 percent of children in the United States are considered obese, and obesity rates continue to grow, according to the San Francisco University Children’s Hospital.
- Rising obesity rates have been linked to the alarming increase in the incidence of impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes in adults and children.
- While there is a link between obesity and diabetes in general, abdominal fat is of particular concern. Carrying extra fat around the middle is associated with metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that increase risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Childhood Obesity Facts
Obesity in children and adolescents puts them at risk for conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
Parents are sometimes unsure if their child has a true weight problem or is just going through a natural part of the growth process. You’ll want to know childhood obesity facts to determine if your child is obese or at risk for obesity, as well as protect his health.
Here are a few risk factors for childhood obesity to help you determine if your child is likely to require diabetic weight loss:
- Family history of cardiovascular disease, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and/or type 2 diabetes
- Glucose intolerance and higher than average insulin levels
- Higher than average blood pressure, cardiac output and pulse
- Household cigarette smoking and sedentary lifestyle
- Orthopedic issues
- Poor self esteem
- Rashes and other skin problems
- Sedentary behavior such as excessive television viewing or computer use
- Taller height (Children with obesity are often above the 50th percentile for height.)
Diabetic Weight Loss
The good news is that weight loss can help reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are already diabetic, weight loss can help you manage your condition. While reaching your goal weight is ideal, don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to do this. Even losing a small percentage of your body weight can significantly reduce your diabetes risk, or help you control diabetes. To help you achieve a healthy weight, try:
- A diet rich in fresh produce and unprocessed foods, with reduced junk foods, fats and refined carbohydrates
- Moderate exercise of about 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week.
American Obesity Association. (2005). Childhood obesity. Retrieved April 2, 2010, from http://obesity1.tempdomainname.com/subs/childhood/healthrisks.shtml.
Life Clinic International. (2010). Diabetes and obesity. Retrieved April 2, 2010, from http://www.lifeclinic.com/focus/diabetes/obesity.asp.
Mayo Clinic. (2009). Type 2 diabetes. Retrieved April 2, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-2-diabetes/DS00585.
University of San Francisco Children’s Hospital. Health risks of overweight children. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from http://www.ucsfchildrenshospital.org/education/health_risks_for_overweight_children/index.html.
Wallace, O. (2010). Does obesity cause diabetes? Retrieved April 2, 2010, from http://www.wisegeek.com/does-obesity-cause-diabetes.htm.