If you are overweight, you have a higher risk of diabetes. But once you got it, it’s better for your health to keep the extra pounds. Really?
Be Heavier Or Not Be Heavier?
Visit forums where diabetics discuss what doctors told them and you are in for a lot of confusion.
One half heard that it’s best for them to lower their weight. The other half got the recommendation that they should keep their weight up, because once you got diabetes, the extra weight protects you and raises life expectancy.
The whole discussion viciously suffered from only small-scale studies looking at the relationship, which makes results unreliable. But a large one done at Harvard’s Medical School now hands us more trustworthy evidence.
The Extra Pounds Make It Worse
Harvard’s scientist examined the data of 11,427 people who got diabetes and had neither cancer or any heart illnesses at time of diagnosis. They were then monitored for an average of 16 years, during which 3,038 participants died.
Here comes the rub: mortality was lowest among normal weight people, those with a body mass index (BMI) between 22.5 and 25. This included those who at the time of their diabetes diagnosis were overweight or obese.
Why Smaller Studies Got It Wrong
The Harvard researchers have a logical explanation why smaller studies came to the wrong conclusions: those couldn’t afford to take variables into account that influence outcome.
When researchers have small test groups and want to observe body mass index and mortality, the normal weight group usually includes smokers and people with still undiagnosed illnesses. Sort those out, and you end up with groups so small they won’t provide any meaningful results at all. You can either call it quits or make do with the participants you got.
But you need to compare non-smoking and otherwise healthy diabetics of normal weight with non-smoking and otherwise healthy overweight or obese diabetics. Only then you get reliable data about the relationship between body weight, health and diabetes.
A Bad Week For Being Overweight
I already on Monday wrote that being fit but overweight is still worse than lazy but slim. The evidence that obesity has a bad influence on your well-being, no matter what, keeps piling up.
Picture courtesy of “Victor“.