Many of us carry a little extra weight we wish we could lose. Whether it’s flabby arms or a spare tire, there are many factors that cause us as a general population to be a little heavier than our ancestors.
However, there’s a big difference between having a few extra pounds to shed and being obese.
By definition, a person is considered obese when their body weight is at least 20% higher than it should be. Obesity starts to cause major health concerns when a person’s BMI (Body Mass Index) is above 30. Among other things, the risk of diabetes is critically high for obese people, and around 90% of people with Type 2 Diabetes are also considered overweight or obese.
But why is obesity so common in people with diabetes? Continue reading to learn why obesity causes diabetes, and what you can do to prevent it.
What causes obesity?
Before we look at obesity and diabetes, we should understand what causes obesity in the first place. Many people experience a slight weight gain as they get older and their metabolism starts to slow down, but obesity is caused by more factors that include:
- Consuming too many calories from unhealthy sources like fast food.
- Consuming large portions on a regular basis.
- Not getting enough exercise or physical activity.
- Genetic predispositions to carry more weight.
Some research shows that up to 36% of Americans are obese, and this could be due to our fast-food culture and increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
The scientific link between obesity and diabetes
So we know that being obese increases your risk of developing diabetes, but why? Diabetes is a chronic disease that impacts the body’s ability to process insulin. Insulin is a chemical produced by the body that essentially digests and processes sugar.
An obese person is likely to develop diabetes because their weight is already a factor that impacts the way their body uses insulin. Additionally, the dietary choices that often lead to someone becoming obese – eating fast food, soft drinks, and other unhealthy meals – also puts pressure on the body to process even more sugar.
Can you control diabetes by losing weight?
For many people, the best way to prevent diabetes, and even reverse the disease completely is to lose weight. This often means following a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and exercise or even investing in bariatric surgery to get a jump-start on relieving the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.
However, it should be noted that while bariatric or gastric bypass surgery is a great way to lose weight quickly, it’s not the be-all, end-all solution to cure diabetes. After surgery, patients must commit to a healthy lifestyle to keep the weight off and keep their health in check.
Good candidates for bariatric surgery to cure diabetes include people with BMI’s of 35 or higher, as these are the people who are at the highest risk. After surgery, most people will notice a large dip in their symptoms, and with a healthy diet and regular exercise, they might be able to completely stop taking diabetes medication and totally reverse the disease.
As with any type of treatment or procedure, you should always consult your doctor and research all the risks involved.
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