The link between obesity
and disease conditions is well known. Obesity
increases the risk for conditions like heart attack, heart failure, high blood
pressure, diabetes, stroke and sleep apnea. The excess weight puts a lot of
stress on the knees resulting in osteoarthritis.
The increasing incidence
of obesity in children is of particular concern and calls for remedial measures
to improve the daily diet and physical activity of kids.
‘The theory that obesity reduces death rate is under the scanner and remains controversial till definitive evidence is available.’
resistance, that is, it reduces the effectiveness of insulin, and
therefore predisposes to type 2 diabetes
. In fact, regular exercise
and weight reduction can bring the glucose levels back to normal in individuals
with borderline diabetes.
is defined in terms of the body mass index (BMI), which is the ratio of
weight to height
. A BMI of more than 30 is considered as obese, while a BMI
of between 18.5 and 25 is considered as normal. A BMI of between 25 and 30 is
included in the overweight group. It is important to note here, that the BMI
does not differentiate between the weights due to bone and muscle mass, and
that due to fat. Going purely by BMI, a bodybuilder could fall in the "obese" group!
obesity paradox has been a point of discussion in the medical world in the
recent years. The once dreaded obesity has been suggested to actually reduce
the death rates as compared to individuals with normal weight
studied if obesity could reduce death rates in patients with diabetes
compiled information from twenty studies which covered around two hundred
thousand patients. They found that:
- The risk for
mortality from all causes was lesser in obese patients as compared to normal
weight patients, though the result was not statistically significant.
- The reduced
mortality in obese patients was applicable only for elderly patients and
in studies with a follow-up period of less than 10 years
- The positive effect of obesity on mortality reduced on long-term
Before you decide that
it is best for you to put on weight, please note that the researchers
themselves feel there could be a problem with the results due to various
factors which may include:
- Elderly people
often suffer from conditions like high cholesterol
levels and hypertension irrespective of whether they are obese
or not. These disorders may not be so common in younger individuals with
normal weight. Therefore, the adverse effect of obesity in younger
individuals may be more obvious.
- In younger
patients, factors like genetic factors and latent autoimmune diabetes in
adults, may be present, which could worsen the outcomes in this
- The data is based
on BMI which, as discussed above, cannot differentiate between weight due
to fat or muscle. This could skew the results in such a study. Muscle mass
actually reduces insulin resistance and improves diabetes. Such 'obese'
patients may be healthy.
The past studies that
were evaluated also had several pitfalls.
at least for now, nothing beats lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet,
adequate exercise and reduced stress to keep yourself healthy and happy!
- They did not
consider whether a weight change in a person could affect the risk of
- The type of
diabetes could not be confirmed in all the studies as type 2 diabetes
- The fitness
levels of the individuals, whether young or old, was not ascertained in
- Gao F. Impact of obesity on mortality in patients with diabetes: Meta-analysis of 20 studies including 250,016 patients 2017; DOI: 10.1111/jdi.12677