Does obesity cause diabetes?

Many recent studies have shown a direct link between obesity and the diagnosis of type II diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes. Also known as adult-onset diabetes, type II is increasingly diagnosed in overweight children and adolescents. In this type of diabetes, the body produces insulin, but the interference of obesity complications does not allow the body to use it as it should.

The body of a type II diabetic, due to an overproduction of insulin, can no longer produce the correct amount to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and begins to develop insulin resistance. Ninety percent of diabetics are diagnosed with type II diabetes. Usually this diagnosis occurs after the age of 40, but the condition is now increasingly found in children. Since 1968, obesity in American children has doubled, and today, approximately 25% of American children are obese. This rise in obesity has been directly linked to the rise in type II diabetes in children and adults.

Studies have shown that an increase in abdominal fat is linked to glucose intolerance, as well as overeating and general obesity. A body mass index (BMI) of more than 40 has been linked to a higher chance of developing diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthy BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. Obese people often have diets high in carbohydrates, starches, and sugars, and low in protein and good fats. How these foods are digested is related to how the body processes sugar.

Like obesity, type II diabetes is highly preventable. Even slight weight loss can reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes by as much as five to ten percent. The CDC recommends a healthy, balanced diet, along with regular moderate exercise, as the first steps in preventing obesity and diabetes. Reducing stress levels can also be very helpful in preventing diabetes.

For those suffering from obesity and diabetes, just 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week can go a long way in starting the weight loss process. Studies have shown that with weight loss, the amount of medication needed to control diabetes can be reduced, and some can completely control the disease with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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