Body Mass Index is the main modifiable cause of diabetes

Losing weight could prevent or even reverse diabetes.


As we are born with our genes, it might be conceivable to pinpoint early in life who has a high risk of developing diabetes during their lifetime.

A new study has been conducted to discover if combining inherited risk with current body mass index (BMI) could distinguish individuals at the highest risk of developing diabetes. Prevention efforts could then focus on these people.

A total of 445,765 participants of the UK Biobank were included in the study. The average age was 57.2 years, and 54% were women. Inherited risk of diabetes was evaluated utilizing 6.9 million genes. Height and weight were estimated at enrolment to calculate BMI in kg/m2. 

Participants were divided into five groups according to the genetic risk of diabetes. They were likewise isolated into five groups as per BMI.

Participants were followed-up until an average age of 65.2 years. During that period, 31,298 developed type 2 diabetes.

Those in the highest BMI group (average 34.5 kg/m2) had an 11-fold increased risk of diabetes than participants in the lowest BMI group (average 21.7 kg/m2). The highest BMI group had a greater likelihood of developing diabetes than all other BMI groups, regardless of genetic risk.

Principal investigator Professor Brian Ference of the University of Cambridge, UK, and University of Milan, Italy, said, “The findings indicate that BMI is a much more powerful risk factor for diabetes that genetic predisposition.”

Using the statistical method, scientists estimated whether the probability of diabetes in individuals with a high BMI would be considerably more prominent on the off chance that they were overweight for an extensive stretch of time. They found that the duration of elevated BMI didn’t affect the danger of diabetes.

Professor Ference said“This suggests that when people cross a certain BMI threshold, their chances of diabetes go up and stay at that same high-risk level regardless of how long they are overweight.”

“The threshold is likely different for each person and would be the BMI at which they start to develop abnormal blood sugar levels. Professor Ference said: “The findings indicate that most diabetes cases could be avoided by keeping BMI below the cut-off, which triggers abnormal blood sugar. This means that to prevent diabetes, both BMI and blood sugar should be assessed regularly. Efforts to lose weight are critical when a person starts to develop blood sugar problems.”

“It may also be possible to reverse diabetes by losing weight in the early stages before permanent damage occurs.”

The study presented today at ESC Congress 2020.

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