Most people know that obesity and diabetes are connected. The more fat a person has, the higher his risk of developing diabetes. But there is new evidence, which shows that this way of calculating the risk of diabetes may not be so accurate.
Why? Because it assumes that only people who are overweight are at risk and that people who have a healthy weight are not. But doctors say that many people who look healthy may actually be prediabetic. Studies show that 1 in 5 adults between the ages of 20 and 44 with a healthy weight are at a high risk for diabetes. For people over the age of 45, 1 in 3 are at risk.
This is because as people get older, they usually lose muscle mass. In other words, they get skinny arms and skinny legs, and gain more weight around their waist. And even though they may have a healthy weight, this is the same as being overweight.
84 million people in the United States have prediabetes, but many of them don’t know it. If prediabetic people are not treated on time, they are very likely to develop diabetes within 5 years. They will also have to spend 2.3 times more on healthcare than if they didn’t have the disease.
This is why doctors recommend that adults over the age of 45 have regular checkups with their doctors. There are some important warning signs:
- you have a family history of diabetes
- you are a man whose waistline is over 40 inches
- you are a woman whose waistline is over 35 inches
- you are a high-risk ethnicity (African-American, Asian, or Native American)
- Obesity – having excess body fat to the extent that it presents a risk to health
- Diabetes – a disease that occurs when the body can’t use glucose normally
- Evidence – proof, confirmation
- Overweight – above a weight considered normal or desirable
- Prediabetic – people with slightly higher blood glucose levels, who are at risk of developing diabetes
- Adult – a person who is fully grown or developed
- Skinny – thin
- Waistline – the measurement around a person’s body at the waist
- Ethnicity – the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition
Questions for Discussion
- Why are people with a healthy weight also at a risk for diabetes?
- Do you have regular checkups with your doctor? Why or why not?
- In your opinion, what are some of the things people can do to prevent diabetes?