BMI: Better Than Genetics for Predicting Diabetes Risk
By Editorial Staff
Body-mass index (BMI) certainly has its critics, particularly because it doesn't always provide an accurate measure of overall health or fitness. For example, two adult males can each have the same BMI of 26 (considered overweight), even though one clearly is overweight, while the other is loaded with muscle. That said, BMI has its role in predicting disease risks, including type 2 diabetes. In fact, high BMI may be a more important risk factor than genetics.
Among nearly 450,000 men and women (average age: 57 years) participating in a 10-year study comparing diabetes risk based on genetics vs. BMI, researchers found BMI to be a significantly more powerful predictor of disease risk. Study participants in the highest BMI group (34.5, on average, which is considered obese) were 11 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than participants in the lowest BMI group (average of 21.7, considered normal). The highest BMI group was more likely to develop diabetes than any other BMI group studied (researchers divided study participants into five groups based on BMI scores), regardless of inherited genetic risk, which they assessed using 6.9 million genes.
BMI may not be a perfect reflection of whether you're at a healthy weight or need to lose a few pounds, but as this study suggests, if it's in the high range ("obese" starts at 30 on the BMI scale), you should pay attention and do something about it, before type 2 diabetes – and other health issues – set up shop in your body. Talk to your doctor to learn more about BMI, type 2 diabetes and how to lose weight safely and effectively if you've been struggling to do so.
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