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This Increases Your Risk of Diabetes By Six Times, Experts Say

Luckily, many people can turn it around.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Overweight woman is working on her laptop on a sofa.

34 million Americans—about one in ten—have diabetes, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common type of diabetes is type 2, which accounts for 90-95 percent of cases. "With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't use insulin well and can't keep blood sugar at normal levels," the CDC explains. While there are multiple risk factors, some preventable and others not, there is a single one that can substantially increase your chances of developing it. Read on to find out what it is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Symptoms That Could Be COVID.

Obesity Increases Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk Six Times

According to a 2020 study, obesity increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by a whopping six times—regardless of genetic predisposition to the disease. "Obesity is a complex medical disease defined as having an excess of fat mass, also known as adipose tissue. It is important because it leads to a variety of diseases including metabolic diseases such as diabetes, dyslipidemia (problems with cholesterol), hypertension (elevated blood pressure), heart disease, musculoskeletal issues (such as arthritis of the knees, back, and hips), breathing issues (sleep apnea), and certain cancers," Albert Do, MD, MPH, clinical director of the Yale Medicine Fatty Liver Disease Program, explains to Eat This, Not That! Health. Obesity is often defined using body mass index (BMI), with a BMI 30 considered obese. 

Obesity doesn't occur overnight and there are a combination of risk factors of various types that play roles in the development of obesity. "Genetic risk can lead to various conditions which can lead to weight gain, but also affect your body's appetite, as well as the ability to convert nutrients into energy," says Dr. Do. Lifestyle behaviors play a very important role in the risk for obesity, including amount of dietary energy intake (i.e. amount of consumption) and type of intake (protein, carbohydrates, or fats) and physical activity (exercise). Certain diseases, age, mental health factors, and socioeconomic factors all play a role in the risk for obesity.  

Per Dr. Do, the reason why type 2 diabetes is becoming more common around the world, is due to the prevalence of obesity. "The increase in diabetes across the world is in large part due to the global increase in obesity," he says. 

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Here's What to Do if You're Obese

Luckily, there is something patients with type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity can do. "For many patients with obesity, weight loss leads to improvement in blood-sugar levels and diabetes control," states Dr. Do. "For this reason, weight loss is an important treatment for type 2 diabetes in many patients." And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.

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