Lower body mass index (BMI) has been shown to reduce the risk of type II diabetes, according to a new study. Weight loss interventions that lower BMI have been consistently associated with a reduced type II diabetes risk among people with weight problems, varied family history, and genetic risk factors.
The study published in PLOS Medicine by Manuel Rivas of Stanford University and colleagues looked at the association between BMI, genetic risk factors, and diabetes family history affecting type II diabetes or BMI. Data from 287,394 individuals of British ancestry participating in the UK biobank from 2006 to 2010 was used for the research. All participants were between the ages of 40 and 69.
It was shown that almost five percent of the participants that had a diagnosis of type II diabetes and diabetes prevalence was associated with higher BMI, a family history of type II disease, and genetic risk factors. Researchers broke down the numbers finding that a 1 kg/m2 BMI reduction was associated with a 1.37 fold reduction in type II diabetes among non-overweight individuals with a BMI of less than 25 and no family history of diabetes. This was similar to the effect of BMI reduction in obese individuals with a family history of diabetes.
The authors of the study say, “These findings suggest that all individuals can substantially reduce their type II diabetes risk through weight loss.” They do however caution that they didn’t study actual weight loss interventions, so the results may not apply to all patients. Although the new analysis “can determine that lower lifetime BMI is protective against diabetes, that does not necessarily imply weight loss later in life, after carrying excess weight for decades, would have the same result.”
With mounting evidence on the health benefits of exercise, this is just another reason to stay active to help lower BMI associated with type II diabetes. To determine your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. The normal BMI range is 18.5 to 24.9.
Walking or jogging offers a great benefit of decreasing BMI while improving cardiovascular health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, such as a brisk walk, five days per week. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise programs.