-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Somewhat surprisingly,
the link between body weight and death risk is stronger among
adults without diabetes than among those with the disease,
according to a new study.
The findings need to be taken into account in population studies
examining the association between weight and death risk, said
Chandra Jackson, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and
The researchers analyzed data from nearly 75,000 black and white
American adults, aged 35 and 75, who took part in the U.S. National
Health Interview Survey and were followed for six years. Five
percent of the participants had diabetes.
The people with diabetes had a higher death rate than those
without diabetes. The researchers also found, however, that death
rates for overweight people without diabetes were higher than for
overweight people with diabetes, according to the study, which
appears Aug. 12 in the
Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Obesity increases the risk for serious health problems such as
heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, and obese
people generally are considered to have a higher risk of death than
those with normal weight.
These findings suggest that weight may have a different impact
on death risk for diabetics than for people without the disease.
Because of this, people's diabetes status should be taken into
account in future weight/death risk studies, in the same way that
heart disease, smoking and cancer are taken into account, the
"This finding was surprising, but it may be due to a commonly observed phenomenon in chronic disease epidemiology called 'reverse causation,' where a person's weight at the time of the survey can be affected by their disease if it leads to weight loss and muscle wasting during advanced stages," Jackson said in a journal news release.
"This apparent obesity paradox that has been observed in the past among individuals with diabetes may actually be due to methodological limitations that can bias these types of studies," she said.
"From clinical and public-health points of view, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight should continue to be recommended for both those with and without diabetes," Jackson said.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
diseases outlines the
health risks of being overweight.
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