Diabesity: The Link Between Weight and Diabetes

"Diabesity" is used to refer to a form of diabetes that typically develops in later life and is associated with being obese. The health impact of diabesity is substantial and includes:
  • Long-term complications include heart attacks, strokes and end-stage kidney disease
  • Long-term diabetic complications
  • Reduction in health-related functioning
  • Reduction of quality of life and reduced overall life expectancy
Recent advances have found that there is an association among chronic stress, depression and sleeping troubles with both diabetes and obesity. According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980. 1.5 billion adults were considered obese in 2008. In the United States:
  • 34 percent of adults aged 20 years and over are overweight
  • 34 percent are obese
  • 6 percent are extremely obese

Diabetes Facts

  • After the onset of obesity, the first demonstrable change is increased insulin resistance, which results in elevated insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia)
  • Diabetes risk increases significantly with higher waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and excess visceral fat mass
  • Glucose gets into the cells with the help of insulin
  • Higher the BMI, greater the risk of diabetes
  • Hyperinsulinemia increases the risk of hyperlipidemia and hypertension
  • If there is not enough insulin or if the body stops responding to insulin, it will result in diabetes
  • If you have diabetes, it means you have too much glucose in your blood
  • In addition to BMI, the distribution of body fat appears to be an important determinant of diabetes risk
  • More than 80 percent of Type 2 diabetes cases can be attributed to obesity
  • Risk may be increased further by a sedentary lifestyle or decreased by exercise
  • The definition of overweight and obesity varies by race
  • The lowest risk was associated with a BMI below 22 kg/m
  • The term "diabetes mellitus" refers to a condition where sugar builds up in your body
  • To calculate BMI, divide body weight (in kilograms) by height (in meters)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus is strongly associated with obesity in all ethnic groups
  • Weight gain after age 18 years in women increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Women with high waist circumference values (greater than 35 inches) were more likely to have diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia compared with those who had normal waist circumference values
  • Years of insulin resistance ultimately leads to a decrease in insulin levels
Healthy Diets
  • DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet — This diet is low in salt and fat. It includes four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables and two to three servings of low-fat dairy products per day. This diet can lower blood pressure, weight, lipids and blood sugar.
  • Mediterranean diet — This diet is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil. It can help to lower weight, blood pressure, lipids and improve blood sugar levels


  • Doctors recommend that people exercise at least 30 minutes a day, on five or more days of the week
  • If you can't exercise for 30 minutes at a time, try to exercise for 10 minutes at a time, three or four times a day
  • Brisk walking is a good choice for exercise
  • Doctors often recommend medicines to lower blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar