According to the CDC, 10.5% of the U.S. population has diabetes, with 26.8 million adults diagnosed and 7.3 million undiagnosed. That is just over one in 10 people! In addition, 34.5% of adults have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar level is above normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Patients with prediabetes are likely to become diabetics within ten years.
What is more, obesity is the leading risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset, is a chronic condition that affects how the body processes blood sugar. The presence of diabetes can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous and immune systems. In addition, diabetes can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease two-fold.
Excess weight affects two-thirds of the U.S. adult population. The obesity rate is 42.4%, the highest ever recorded. The national adult obesity rate has increased by 26% since 2008. Childhood obesity is also increasing, with 19.3% of youth ages 2 to 19 with obesity.
The national prevalence of diabetes has increased parallel to the rates of obesity.
Obesity and diabetes can decrease life expectancy, diminish the quality of life and increase healthcare costs. The term “diabesity” refers to obesity-dependent diabetes, according to Obesity in Action.
Who is at Risk for Diabetes
Generally called adult-onset diabetes, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes rises for all ages with increasing body weight. Developing type 2 diabetes is three to seven times higher for those who are obese than normal weight adults. For adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 35, developing type 2 diabetes is 20 times higher.
Women with a BMI of 30 are 28 times more likely to develop diabetes than women of normal weight. The risk of diabetes is 93 times greater if the BMI is 35.
In addition, according to the CDC, new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes have risen significantly among U.S. youth.
Preventing or Curing Obesity and Diabetes
The National Diabetes Prevention Program found that people who lost 5 to 7% of body weight and added 150 minutes of exercise per week decreased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58%. For people older than 60, the reduced risk was 71%.
But not everyone who is obese is able to lose weight with diet and exercise.
However, obese people can lose weight and reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes and other health risks in different ways. Bariatric, or weight-loss surgery, can improve, control or cure type 2 diabetes.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), bariatric surgery is beneficial for those with a BMI greater than 40. It is also recommended for individuals with a BMI of 35-39.9 and medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea and other comorbidities.
Studies continue to show a high rate of diabetes type 2 remission after bariatric surgery. Improvements occur due to a metabolic change induced by the surgery and significant weight loss.