News

Body shape affects risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research has found

by Barbara Hewitt on February 16, 2017

Body shape does have an effect on the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes as people with a genetic predisposition to put on weight around their middle are more likely to have the condition.

People with an apple body shape, that is a higher waist to hip ratio were found to be more likely to have elevated triglycerides, serum glucose, and blood pressure and develop type 2 diabetes or coronary heart disease.

Belly FatResearchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States (MGH) set out to see if lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking and a lack of exercise were the cause of the in increased risk as several observational studies have already shows those with higher ratios of abdomen fat had a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes.

‘People vary in their distribution of body fat. Some put fat in their belly, which we call abdominal adiposity, and some in their hips and thighs,’ says Sekar Kathiresan, director of the MGH Centre for Genomic Medicine and associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

‘Abdominal adiposity has been correlated with cardiometabolic disease, but whether it actually has a role in causing those conditions was unknown. We tested whether genetic predisposition to abdominal adiposity was associated with the risk for type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease and found that the answer was a firm yes,’ Kathiresan explained.

The research team applied a genetic approach called mendelian randomisation, which measures whether inherited gene variants actually cause outcomes such as the development of a disease. Using data from a previous study that identified 48 gene variants associated with waist to hip ratio adjusted for body mass index, an established measure for abdominal adiposity, they developed a genetic risk score.

They then applied that score to data from six major genome-wide association studies and to individual data from the UK Biobank, a total research group of more than 400,000 individuals, to determine any association between a genetic predisposition to abdominal adiposity and cardiometabolic disease and its risk factors.

The results clearly indicated that genetic predisposition to abdominal adiposity is associated with significant increases in the incidence of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, along with increases in blood lipids, blood glucose and systolic blood pressure.

No association was found between the genetic risk score and lifestyle factors, and testing confirmed that only the abdominal adiposity effects of the identified gene variants were associated with cardiometabolic risk.

‘These results illustrate the power of using genetics as a method of determining the effects of a characteristic like abdominal adiposity on cardiometabolic outcomes,’ said lead author Connor Emdin, of the MGH Centre for Genomic Medicine and the Cardiology Division.

‘The lack of association between the body type genetic risk score and confounding factors such as diet and smoking provides strong evidence that abdominal adiposity itself contributes to causing type 2 diabetes and heart disease,’ he pointed out.

‘Not only do these results allow us to use body shape as a marker for increased cardiometabolic risk, they also suggest that developing drugs that modify fat distribution may help prevent these diseases. Future research also could identify individual genes that could be targeted to improve body fat distribution to reduce these risks,’ he added.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for Anti-ageing hormone found to have links with diabetic kidney disease

Anti-ageing hormone found to have links with diabetic kidney disease

February 15, 2017 News

People with diabetes suffering from the early stages of kidney disease have a deficiency of a protective anti-ageing hormone called Klotho, new research has found. Researchers from King’s College London believe that Klotho may play a significant role in the development of kidney disease, which is often prevalent in patients with diabetes. This could mean […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Scientists find a way to change insulin producing cells to survive type 1 diabetes

Scientists find a way to change insulin producing cells to survive type 1 diabetes

February 13, 2017 News

Scientists have discovered how insulin producing cells that are typically destroyed in type 1 diabetes can change in order to survive an immune attack. They hope that their work can lead to new treatment strategies for recovering these cells in people with type 1 diabetes as although they no longer fully function some cells survive […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Three key studies launched in New Zealand to look at reducing risk of type 2 diabetes

Three key studies launched in New Zealand to look at reducing risk of type 2 diabetes

February 10, 2017 News

Scientists are to undertake a major study into whether microbes found in the gut could hold the key to battling the development of diabetes and if probiotics and prebiotics could help. The team from Otago University in Wellington, New Zealand, will carry out a randomised placebo-controlled study to test whether probiotic supplements and prebiotics can […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Altered kidney cells could become effect treatment for both type one and type 2 diabetes

Altered kidney cells could become effect treatment for both type one and type 2 diabetes

February 9, 2017 News

Designer kidney cells engineered to release insulin could one day be put in a capsule and implanted under the skin to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to scientists. A team of researchers in Switzerland have successfully genetically altered a type of human kidney cell called HEK to enable it to sense […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Sitting at a desk all day not as harmful for diabetes risk as previously thought

Sitting at a desk all day not as harmful for diabetes risk as previously thought

February 8, 2017 News

Sitting at a desk for work all day may not be a direct cause of an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the relationship between movement and the condition is much more complex. One of the very few long term studies to investigate whether there is a link between sitting behaviour and diabetes […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Encouraging everyone to have a healthy weight could help combat type 2 diabetes

Encouraging everyone to have a healthy weight could help combat type 2 diabetes

February 8, 2017 News

Public health strategies that aim to prevent adult weight gain in the whole population have the potential to prevent twice as many cases of type 2 diabetes as strategies that target individuals, new research has found. Currently such programmes tend generally to target those at high risk of type 2 diabetes, such as people who […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Health professionals urged to understand the fears that diabetes brings

Health professionals urged to understand the fears that diabetes brings

February 3, 2017 News

Health professionals working with people with diabetes need to be aware that one of their biggest fears is low blood glucose levels. Researchers in Australia found that worries about hypoglycaemia and how to cope when it happens affects one on seven people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The researchers at the Australian Centre […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Rat grown mouse pancreas cell transplant found to reverse diabetes in animal models

Rat grown mouse pancreas cell transplant found to reverse diabetes in animal models

February 2, 2017 News

Insulin producing islet cells grown in the pancreas of animals such as pigs or sheep could one day be transplanted into humans to treat diabetes, according to scientists. Researchers report that islets from rat grown mouse pancreases have been successfully used to reverse diabetes with a minimum amount of immunosuppressive therapy to prevent rejection. The […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Insulin sensitivity levels are raised after eating just one fat loaded meal

Insulin sensitivity levels are raised after eating just one fat loaded meal

February 1, 2017 Diets

A single fatty meal of a burger and chips is enough to alter the body’s metabolism and trigger changes associated with diabetes and heart and liver disease, new research has found. Changes can be found after just one such meal with the evidence showing that it can reduce sensitivity to insulin as well as immediately […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Real number of diabetes related deaths in US much higher than figures suggest

Real number of diabetes related deaths in US much higher than figures suggest

January 30, 2017 News

Diabetes is killing three times more people in the United States than previously thought as the figures are skewed by deaths being attributed to other conditions such as heart and kidney disease. According to new research deaths caused by diabetes are as high as 12%, much more than the 4% recorded in official statistics which […]

Read the full article →



The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.