weight

Watch your waistline to avoid type 2 diabetes, doctors warn

by Barbara Hewitt on July 31, 2014

Adults are being urged to keep an eye on their waistline as a new analysis shows that men and women with a larger waist circumference are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A report from Public Health England (PHE) that men with a waist of over 40.2 inches are five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes while women with a waist of over 34.7 inches are three times more likely to do so.

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Being overweight or obese is the main avoidable risk factor for type 2 diabetes

The report points out that not only do people with type 2 diabetes face a higher risk of heart attacks and stroke, it is also the leading cause of blindness in people of working age. 100 people a week have a limb amputated due to diabetes.

Currently, 90% of adults with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. The prevalence of both obesity and diabetes are on the rise and if someone has type 2 diabetes at the age of 50, they can expect to die six years earlier than someone without the disease.

The report also describes how being overweight or obese is the main avoidable risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but there are also ethnic criteria. For example, people from Black, South Asian and other minority ethnic groups tend to develop type 2 diabetes up to a decade earlier than white European populations, and develop it at a lower body mass index.

In addition, deprivation is closely linked to the risk of both obesity and diabetes, with type 2 diabetes being 40% more common among people in the poorest communities compared with those in the richest.

“Type 2 diabetes is a very serious public health issue which can have significant consequences, such as limb amputations or blindness. The key to reducing diabetes is losing weight, which can be achieved through a healthy diet and being more active,” said Dr. Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE.

The ‘epidemic’ is likely to get worse, said Baroness Barbara Young, the chief executive of leading charity Diabetes UK, adding that the impact on the nation’s health would be devastating and the increase in costs to the NHS would be unsustainable.

‘The government needs to urgently consider making healthy food more accessible through taxation, other financial measures and more robust regulation of the food industry,’ she said.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, the national clinical director for obesity and diabetes for NHS England, said the country is experiencing a huge increase in type 2 diabetes because of the rising rates of obesity.

“We clearly need a concerted effort on the prevention, early diagnosis and management of diabetes to slow its significant impact not only on individual lives, but also on the NHS,” he added.

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