A new University of Michigan Health System study has revealed that the "dose" of obesity-how much excess weight a person has, and for how long- is an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
"Our study finds that the relationship between weight and type 2 diabetes is similar to the relationship between smoking and the risk of lung cancer," said study lead author Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H., a paediatric endocrinologist at U-M's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
"The amount of excess weight that you carry, and the number of years for which you carry it, dramatically increase your risk of diabetes," Lee stated.
The researchers found that a measure of degree and duration of excess weight was a better predictor of diabetes risk than a single measurement of excess weight.
Lee and colleagues also found that black and Hispanic compared with white individuals had a higher risk for diabetes, for a same amount of excess weight over time.
Based on the latest findings, Lee suggests obesity prevention and treatment efforts should focus on adolescents and young adults, especially racial minorities.
The study appeared online in the September issue of the Archives of Paediatric Adolescent Medicine.