Men develop type 2 diabetes at a lower BMI than women, say researchers at Glasgow University.
Lead researcher Professor Naveed Sattar, of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said being overweight was a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Other factors were age, ethnicity and genetics.
"Previous research has indicated that middle-aged men are at a higher risk of developing diabetes than women and one possible explanation is that men have to gain less weight than women to develop the condition," the Scotsman quoted him as saying.
"In other words, men appear to be at higher risk for diabetes," he added.
Researchers analysed data collected from 51,920 men and 43,137 women in Scotland with diabetes.
The found mean BMI at diabetes diagnosis in men was 31.83, but 33.69 in women and the difference was most marked at younger ages.
Prof Sattar said the reasons women might develop diabetes later than men could be linked to fat distribution, as men carried more fat around their stomach and liver.