0809 GMT December 03, 2020
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US, and for the 90 percent of sufferers whose disease is type 2, it's preventable, dailymail.co.uk reported.
For those who are obese or overweight, doctors have lung urged diet and exercise plans to help dodge diabetes.
Now, research from Stanford University suggests that bringing your body mass index (BMI) down by just one point can cut diabetes risks — even if you're not particularly at-risk to begin with.
This means that if the average, 5'4" American woman loses just eight pounds, or the Average 5'10" man loses nine pounds, each could cut their risks by a dramatic 1.4-fold, the authors wrote.
More than 100 million American adults have either diabetes or prediabetes.
On average, people with type 2 diabetes will have about 10 fewer years to live, and their quality of life will decline much more steeply as they age.
Not every single person who has type 2 diabetes is overweight, but — combined with a sedentary lifestyle — excess body mass is thought to be the cause of between 90 and 95 percent of cases.
Scientists think that fat molecules leech into the rest of the body, disrupting metabolism and fueling insulin resistance.
In turn, blood sugar levels spike and glucose in food becomes difficult for the pancreas to process.
For the 60 percent of women and nearly 75 percent of men who are overweight in the US, losing weight is not only advisable but imperative to avoid developing diabetes, as well as for reducing risks for heart disease and stroke.
But the Stanford team wanted to see whether this benefit held true regardless of genetic risk and for people who are not obese or overweight.
They used a massive sample of data on 287,394 people of British descent recruited between 2006 and 2010, when those people were between ages 40 and 69.
Around five percent of the group had type II diabetes.
As body mass index went up among the group, so did the prevalence of the disease.
Unsurprisingly, those who had a family history of diabetes were at higher risk for the disease at all BMIs.
But for even below the threshold for being considered medically overweight — a BMI of 25 — risks went down as the weight-to-height ratio did.
In fact, for every reduction of one point BMI, the risk of type 2 diabetes decreased by 1.37-fold.
'These findings suggest that all individuals can substantially reduce their type II diabetes risk through weight loss,' the authors wrote.
But they also caution that their study didn't involve prescribing weigh loss programs to people who had not previously been on them, meaning it wasn't possible to determine with absolute certainty that dropping pounds would offset a lifetime spent at a higher BMI.
Their results '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,' they noted.