Obesity is a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes, regardless of genetics

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a new study, researchers found that obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by at least 6 times, regardless of genetic predisposition to the disease.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Copenhagen and elsewhere.

The team used data from a case-cohort study nested within the Diet, Cancer and Health cohort in Denmark.

They examined the links of obesity, genetic predisposition, and an unhealthy lifestyle with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

The study sample included 4,729 individuals who developed type 2 diabetes during 14.7 years of follow-up and 5,402 healthy individuals.

The team found compared with people of normal weight, those with obesity were almost six times more likely to develop T2D, while people who were overweight had a 2.4 times increased risk.

For genetic risk, those with the highest genetic risk scores were twice as likely to develop T2D as those with the lowest, while those with the unhealthiest lifestyle were 18% more likely to develop T2D than those with the healthiest.

In addition, people who ranked high for all three risk factors, with obesity, high genetic risk score, and an unhealthy lifestyle, had a 14.5 times increased risk of developing T2D.

Notably, even among people with a low genetic risk score and healthy lifestyle, obesity was linked to 8.4 times increased risk of T2D compared with normal-weight individuals in the same genetic and lifestyle risk group.

The results suggest that type 2 diabetes prevention by weight management and a healthy lifestyle is critical across all genetic risk groups.

Furthermore, the effect of obesity on type 2 diabetes risk is dominant over other risk factors, highlighting the importance of weight management in type 2 diabetes prevention.

One author of the study is Dr. Theresia Schnurr.

The study is published in Diabetologia.

Copyright © 2020 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.