Almost half of all people living in the United States will develop type II diabetes at some point in their life, according to research recently published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. The researchers blame the rise in diabetes on the obesity epidemic overtaking the U.S.
The Association Between Obesity Rates and Diabetes
In 1958, less than one percent of the U.S. population – 1.58 million people – had diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By 1990, the number of diabetes cases had risen to 6.21 million. Diabetes then exploded to epidemic levels by the year 2010: 21.13 million people – nearly 7 percent of the total population – now have the disease.
This rise in diabetes cases parallels the skyrocketing rates of obesity in the United States. The obesity rates have doubled since 1980, according to the CDC, from 15 percent to 30 percent. Today, about 60 million Americans – about one-third of the population – are obese.
Obesity and diabetes go hand in hand. Overweight and obese people stand a much greater chance for developing type II diabetes than do individuals who are of normal weight. Fortunately, weight loss and healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risk for diabetes associated with obesity.
Diabetes is a medical condition characterized by unstable blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes. Type I diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body cannot make enough insulin, a hormone that causes cells to take up blood sugar to use as energy. In type II diabetes, formerly known as adult onset diabetes, either the body does not make enough insulin or the cells do not respond to insulin.
Many people who struggle with obesity also experience high blood sugar levels. In fact, almost 90 percent of people with type II diabetes are overweight, according to the Obesity Society. This is because extra weight places additional pressure on your body’s ability to use insulin to control blood sugar properly. This makes it more likely that you will develop diabetes.
Weight Loss for Obesity and Diabetes
Fortunately, weight loss can reduce the risk for and decrease the unhealthy effects of obesity and diabetes. Small portions of low-calorie foods, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes are the first steps to losing weight in a safe, effective, and sustainable manner.
Contact a doctor or weight loss specialist to learn more about the link between obesity and diabetes, and for tips on weight loss to reduce your risk for both of these harmful conditions.