In a new study, researchers found a new proof of the link between obesity and disease.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of South Australia’s Australian Centre for Precision Health.
Previous research has suggested a high BMI was linked with increased risk of chronic diseases.
But the clinical studies used to test the health risks of obesity were typically too small or too short to assess causation with many of the diseases.
In the study, the team examined links between body mass index (BMI) and more than 925 diseases in 337,536 UK volunteers from the UK Biobank—a research database holding health and genetic information from half a million UK volunteers.
They conducted five different analyses and found consistent evidence for a causal association between obesity and health outcomes across these five different approaches.
Fully consistent evidence across all approaches was seen for 14 different diseases, and for 26 different diseases evidence was obtained by at least four of the five methods used.
The findings confirm the link between obesity and conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
One of the key findings, according to the team, was the strong link observed between obesity and diabetes.
Obesity affects peripheral nerve disorders, chronic leg and foot ulcers, and even gangrene and kidney failure, which are all known to be diabetic complications.
This suggests a key aspect to reduce comorbidity risk in obesity is careful monitoring of blood sugar and effective control of diabetes and its complications.
Future work needs to further the understanding that genes played in obesity, and the insights it could provide for the future management and treatment of obesity.
The lead author of the study is Professor Elina Hypponen.
The study is published in The Lancet.
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