Have you heard of the Obesity Paradox? Neither had I. Excess weight is thought to increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, and yet some doctors have been saying that excess weight might actually help you live longer once you are diagnosed with type 2 - thus the paradox. This idea came to light after researchers and physicians were looking at data and finding discrepancies. However, this article talks about a study that was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine that refutes this supposed paradox.
Weighing the evidence
A major study, conducted over 15 years and funded by The National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association, dispels the theory that being overweight increases your survival rate when you have type 2 diabetes. More than 11,000 male and female health-care workers who had developed type 2 diabetes were studied over a 15-year period. 3,083 of the participants died during the 15-year study. Looking at the data, researchers discovered that the rate of survival was greater for those people who maintained a healthy weight. Being “just a little overweight” didn’t dramatically increase the risk of death. But in those participants who were under 65 years of age, “the risk of death rose directly in relation to BMI.” In other words, heavier = greater chance of death.
Is the study valid?
Independent observers of the study say that it was large and comprehensive enough to make the results compelling. These results back up the recommendation that people with type 2 diabetes need to do what they can to lose weight in order to increase their chances of survival. Beyond that benefit, maintaining a healthy weight also helps to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels where they need to be, which leads to a better quality of life.
It’s doubtful that people would choose to remain at an unhealthy weight but it’s good to hear that data backs up the fact that weight loss remains a key to warding off complications of type 2 diabetes and maintaining overall good health. Weight loss is never easy but it’s definitely something to work toward. You’re worth the effort.