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Obesity Takes 8 Years Off Diabetics' Life Expectancy

Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Obesity can reduce the life expectancy of diabetes patients by up to eight years. Professor Ross Lawrenson of the University of Surrey in Guildford, southern England said a high body mass index (BMI), the standard measure for calculating obesity, is a leading risk factor for people suffering from diabetes.

Lawrenson said, "Obese people with diabetes have decreased life expectancy and increased mortality." Increased risk of death has been shown before, but the eight-year figure is relatively new, he added.

The research, which was presented at the Diabetes UK medical conference in Birmingham, England, also showed people with diabetes have double the risk of dying. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared. A BMI of more than 30 is considered obese. More than 35 is severely obese.

Lawrenson and his colleagues used a government research database to study 44,188 patients with type 2, or adult onset, diabetes. Excess weight is the most common and avoidable risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that the average age of death for type 2 subjects with a BMI of 35 or greater was 70 years old, while the average for those with a BMI of 20-24 was 78 years old.

Medical experts say a 5-to-10 percent weight loss can reduce the risk of diabetes and its related problems, such as macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, leg ulcers and high cholesterol.

"Eighty percent of people are overweight when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes so this research is very worrying. It is essential that people with diabetes manage their weight so they can help to reduce their risk of serious complications, such as heart attack and stroke," Benet Middleton, the chief executive of the charity Diabetes UK, said in a statement. "Obesity is taking years off people's lives."

The research, which was presented at the Diabetes UK medical conference in Birmingham, England, also showed people with diabetes have double the risk of dying.

Source: Diabetes In Control.com

 
 
 
 
 
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