People Wrongly Assume "Most" Diabetics Are Overweight

When news stations feature stories about diabetes, they tend to include a shot of an overweight body, calling attention to the person's excess body fat. These shots highlight the connection between obesity and diabetes, but do they paint an accurate picture of the disease? Or do they make Americans believe that you must be overweight in order to get diabetes?

OpposingViews.com recently polled its readers to find out what people think they know about the disease. More than 5,000 readers responded to the poll, which asked: How many diabetics do you think are overweight?

  • The majority (45%) indicated that they think "Most" diabetics are overweight.
  • Another 19.9% of people think "Almost All" diabetics are overweight.
  • 30% of people think "Some" diabetics are overweight.
  • 5% of people think "Very Few" diabetics are overweight.

In reality, most people who get type 1 diabetes are of a normal weight or even underweight when diagnosed. This is because type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, not a condition caused by insulin-inefficiency from excess weight.

About 20% of people who get type 2 diabetes are of a normal weight as well, for obesity is only one factor that influences the likelihood of someone developing type 2 diabetes. Other factors include a history of diabetes in your family, increased age, being in a high-risk ethnic group, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. Additionally, if a woman had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, she is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later on.

Managing your weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly does drastically decrease your chances of developing diabetes, even if you have a family history of the disease. But keep in mind that this does not mean every diabetic is overweight.

Photo: Pixabay

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