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New Link Between Being Overweight and Getting Diabetes

Reviewed by Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

It’s well established that being overweight or obese increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. But now new research shows it’s weight gained under the age of 40 that dramatically increases the risk, especially in women.

In a study of almost 700 adults, the risk of getting diabetes was slightly higher for each increase in Body Mass Index (for example, from a BMI of 26 to 27) in adults aged between 25 and 40 years, than those aged 40 to 55 years. Furthermore, severe weight gain between the ages of 25 and 40 years increased the risk of developing diabetes by one and a half times in men and by more than four times in women than in those people who’s weight stayed stable in early adulthood.

A large weight gain in early adulthood also meant diabetes was diagnosed five years earlier in men and three years earlier in women.

The researchers conclude that weight gain in early adulthood is related to a higher risk and earlier onset of type 2 diabetes than weight gained after the age of 40.

WLR says:

Piling on the pounds in our mid 20s and 30s is common due to massive changes in our lifestyle.

During this time, many of us settle into long-term relationships, have children or develop hectic careers – and this often affects what we eat and drink and our activity levels. And because these changes happen gradually, we often don’t recognise that our eating and exercise habits have even altered.

If you’ve gradually gained weight over the years, it might be worth identifying a time in your life when your weight was steady, and looking back at your lifestyle then. You’ll probably find your current habits are very different to those in the past. Write down all the differences you can think of and then consider re-introducing some of them. For example, your list might include things like going to an aerobics class every week, walking home from work instead of driving, only eating when you were hungry, having beans on toast rather than takeaways on a Friday night or going clubbing every weekend.

Remember, as your waistline has discovered, it’s little changes that make big differences. The good news is, it’s never too late to take a step backwards and return to some of those old habits that helped to keep you slim.

Read how Weight Loss Resources' member, Jules reversed his diabetes

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