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Weight loss helps prevent diabetes

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday April 28, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Obesity is linked to type 2 diabetes mellitus.   A new study in Endocrine Abstracts says that weight loss reduces risk of diabetes mellitus, and also helps to reverse the disease in those who are trying to achieve a reduction of five units in body mass index.

The ongoing non-randomized prospective controlled Swedish Obese Subjects intervention study involved 2010 obese people who received bariatric surgery and 2037 contemporaneously matched obese controls.

Body mass index or BMI was measured for all participants at baseline and then at 2 and 10 years.  Diabetes was defined by fasting venous whole blood glucose 6.1 mmol/litre or higher or self-reported diabetes medication.

The study led by M. Peltonen of National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland and colleagues found among obese people whose weight remained the same at two years, the diabetes incidence rate was 6.5%, 7.7% and 9.3% for those who had an initial BMI of less than 35, 35 to 40, and 40 to 45 kg/m2 at baseline, respectively.

Additionally, among those with initial BMI of 35 to 40, 40 to 45 and equal to or greater than 45 kg/m2 initially who attained five BMI-unit reduction in BMI at 2 years, the diabetes rates were 2.4%, 2.0% and 3.4%, respectively. 

"In patients with diabetes at baseline and who attained a 5 BMI-unit reduction at year 2, remission rates were independent of the initial degree of obesity," the authors reported.

Similar results were seen at 10 years.

The researchers concluded "A 5-unit reduction in BMI, independent of the initial degree of obesity is correlated with a reduction in diabetes risk, compared to those who maintain weight stability."

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