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Researchers Remind People that Diabetes Can affect All People Regardless of Weight

Update Date: Aug 05, 2013 12:14 PM EDT
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Type two diabetes is a chronic disease that requires people to monitor their sugar intake through diet and medication. Although type two diabetes is manageable, it can contribute to the development of other health conditions down the line, which is why preventing it from manifesting is important. One's risk of developing type two diabetes is often associated with one's weight. Even though several studies have reported that obesity is a huge contributing factor to type two diabetes, there are several other factors involved as well. These factors include one's family history for the chronic illness as well as lifestyle habits, such as exercise level. Due to these factors that are often forgotten, researchers from Flinders University published a report reminding people that skinny people can be at risk for type two diabetes as well and that weight should not be the only factor to consider.

"There is still a lot of uncertainty about the etiology of diabetes and there are a number of potential risk factors at play [that] include aging, gestational diabetes, genetics, under nutrition, poverty and family history, many of which are beyond individual control," stated

public health researcher and medical anthropologist at Flinders University, Dr. Darlene McNaughton according to Medical Xpress. "Despite this, overweight and obesity are increasingly depicted not only as risk factors, but also as the central cause of the disease."

Based from her research, she concluded that the children of parents with type two diabetes have a very high risk of developing the disease as they age. The risk factor could be as high as 70 percent, she noted. Despite this, the public's focus on weight and its relation to diabetes continues tor thrive.

"It is being promulgated in research, in the media and generally, that weight, and obesity in particular, is driving diabetes rates up. This overemphasizes weight and lifestyle and downplays those things that people can't control, like genetics or poverty," she added. "There are an awful lot of obese or overweight people who don't have diabetes and who never will, because it's more complicated than 'weight equals diabetes.'"

McNaughton noted that due to this belief that weight leads to diabetes, people who are thin might not believe that they would ever be at risk. This lack of awareness could lead to severe health situations where diabetes is left untreated for years.

The report can be accessed in Volume 23, Issue 3 of Critical Public Health

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