People who are overweight face greater risk of developing stress-related diseases including type 2 diabetes, says a new study.
According to the researchers from Brandeis University overweight and obese individuals have higher levels of stress-induced inflammation than those within a healthy weight-range.
Nicolas Rohleder, the study's principal investigator said that though they had known overweight and obese individuals to have chronic, low grade inflammation, it seemed that when you add stress to the mix, it's a double hit."
The researchers measured interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory agent linked to stress, to evaluate inflammation levels in normal-weight and overweight individuals over the course of two psychological stress tests. They classified weight based on several factors, including body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage. Individuals with a BMI of 25 or higher were classified as overweight.
The team observed that the relationship between BMI and IL-6 levels was linear, the higher the BMI, even among lean individuals, the higher the IL-6.
Author Christine McInnis said that it seemed that every percentage point of body fat made a person more susceptible to inflammation.
With about two thirds of Americans classified as overweight, and worldwide obesity rates doubling since 1980, understanding the health risks of obesity could not be more important, she added.
The study is published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity.