Lower BMI means lower diabetes risk, even in lean people

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Body mass index (BMI) is an internationally recognized standard to classify the body weight of adults. Although BMI is not a perfect measure, it is the most useful and valid for adults.

In a study from Stanford University, scientists found lower BMI is consistently linked to reduced type 2 diabetes risk, among people with varied family histories, genetic risk factors and weight.

Weight-loss interventions have shown benefits for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in high-risk and pre-diabetic people but have not been well-studied in people at lower risk of diabetes.

In the new study, researchers studied the association between BMI, diabetes family history, and genetic risk factors affecting type 2 diabetes or BMI.

They used data on 287,394 unrelated individuals of British ancestry recruited to participate in the UK Biobank from 2006 to 2010 when between the ages of 40 and 69.

The team found nearly 5% of the participants had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and diabetes prevalence was confirmed to be associated with higher BMI, a family history of type II disease and genetic risk factors.

Moreover, a 1 kg/m2 BMI reduction was associated with a 1.37-fold reduction in type 2 diabetes among non-overweight individuals with a BMI of less than 25 and no family history of diabetes, similar to the effect of BMI reduction in obese people with a family history.

These findings suggest that all people can substantially reduce their type II diabetes risk through weight loss.

But they also caution that the results must be taken with a grain of salt since they didn’t study actual weight loss interventions.

The team says although the new analysis can determine that lower lifetime BMI is protective against diabetes, that does not necessarily imply weight loss later in life, after carrying excess weight for decades, would have the same result.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about high vitamin D levels linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and brown rice and white rice affect the diabetes risk differently.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that Keto diet could benefit overweight people with type 2 diabetes, and results showing Mediterranean diet could help reduce the diabetes risk by 30%.

The study was conducted by Manuel Rivas et al and published in PLOS Medicine.

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