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How Is Obesity Related To Diabetes?

Our body mass index has a strong link to diabetes and insulin resistance.

Diabetes mellitus can alter carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. This alteration is caused due to the absence of insulin secretion, either due to progressive or marked inability of  the pancreas to produce insulin or because of insulin resistance.

Diabetes is broadly classified into 2 categories- Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is most commonly found in children, but can sometimes appear in adults as well. Persons with this type are not obese and are frequently present with an emergency status known as diabetes ketoacidosis.

There is a strong link between type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and Addison’s disease.When these diseases occur, the prevalence rates of type 1 diabetes increase.

As per studies, Vitamin D plays a major role in the prevention of type 1 diabetes It also states Vitamin D deficiency in individuals with type 1 diabetes is an independent predictor of the development of coronary artery disease.

Type 2 diabetes is a combination of low amounts of insulin production from pancreatic β-cells and insulin resistance.Insulin resistance leads to elevated fatty acids in the plasma causing decrease in glucose transport into the muscle cells. 

Any person who is overweight or obese has some kind of insulin resistance. In this type the insulin level of people may be high but may still not be enough to normalize the level of glycemia.

Obesity is defined as the excess accumulation of adipose tissue, to an extent that it impairs the physical health and well-being of a person.Obesity is considered as a health disaster in not just developed but developing countries as well.


The DIAMOND (Diabetes Mondiale) study conducted, collected data on childhood diabetes from 112 centers around the world, which demonstrated an approximate 2.8% annual increase in type 1 diabetes over the period from 1989–2000.

The alarming link between type 1 diabetes and weight gain can be derived as per The Baum et al study which suggests that there might be an association in relation to overfeeding or hormonal dysregulation. As young children gain more weight, diabetes can be diagnosed sooner. This can be explained because more weight accelerates insulin resistance, leading to the development of type 1 diabetes in individuals genetically prone to diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes as well as obesity is associated with insulin resistance.

Insulin sensitivity fluctuation occurs across every individuals natural life cycle. In addition, lifestyle changes like  increased carbohydrate intake and increased physical activity, are associated with insulin sensitivity fluctuations as well.

Obesity is also known to be the most important factor in the development of metabolic diseases.

How: Adipose tissue affects the human metabolism by secreting hormones, glycerol, and other substances including leptin, cytokines and pro-inflammatory substances,.In obese people  the secretion of these substances increases.

The insulin sensitivity is determined by another important factor, which is the body fat distribution. Individuals whose fat distribution is more peripheral have more insulin sensitivity than those whose fat distribution is more central which is around the abdomen and chest area.

Currently, we cannot do much about the genetic makeup that influences our pancreatic beta cell function however we can improve our insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk ahead of us with a proper diet and exercise.

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