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Diabetes and Obesity

July 14th, 2015 | by Great Britain Association
Diabetes and Obesity

The UK is officially the ‘fattest’ country in Europe, with approximately 1 in 5 adults overweight and one in every 15 obese.

Over the next 20 years, the number of obese adults in the country is forecast to soar by a staggering 73% to 26 million people.

According to health experts, such a rise would result in more than a million extra cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Obesity is also no longer a condition that just affects older people, although the likelihood does increase with age, and increasing numbers of young people have been diagnosed with obesity.

Links between obesity and type 2 diabetes

While the exact causes of diabetes are still not fully understood, it is known that factors up the risk of developing different types of diabetes mellitus.

For type 2 diabetes, this includes being overweight or obese (having a body mass index – BMI – of 30 or greater).

In fact, obesity is believed to account for 80-85% of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while recent research suggests that obese people are up to 80 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with a BMI of less than 22.

How does obesity cause type 2 diabetes?

It is a well known fact that if you are overweight or obese, you are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly if you have excess weight around your tummy (abdomen).

Inflammatory response

Studies suggest that abdominal fat causes fat cells to releases ‘pro-inflammatory’ chemicals, which can make the body less sensitive to the insulin it produces by disrupting the function of insulin responsive cells and their ability to respond to insulin.

This is known as insulin resistance – a major trigger for type 2 diabetes.

Having excess abdominal fat (i.e. a large waistline) is known as central or abdominal obesity, a particularly high-risk form of obesity.

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