People are “at risk of developing type 2 diabetes” if they can no longer fit into the jeans they were wearing when they were 21.
If adults find they are no longer able to fit into the same sized trousers, then they have been “carrying too much fat”, Professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, suggested.
The academic was presenting data at a leading diabetes conference.
Delegates at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ annual convention heard about research which has found that individuals of regular weight with type 2 diabetes might “achieve remission” by losing weight.
Eight in 12 people managed to “get rid” of their condition by losing 10-15 percent of their body weight.
Body mass index (BMI) is calculated from the mass and height of a person.
It is largely used as a screening tool that can indicate whether a person is underweight or carrying excess weight.
If a person’s BMI is outside of the healthy range, their health risk is thought to increase.
For this study, the participants all had type 2 diabetes, despite having a “normal” BMI, with an average BMI of 24.5.
The participants followed a weight loss programme which included a low calorie liquid diet for two weeks, where each day they only had 800 calories a day.
This was followed by four to six weeks where they received support to maintain their new weight.
By losing weight they managed to reduce the levels of fat in the liver and pancreas, and the activity of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas was “restored”.
This is of particular interest, as they were not previously deemed overweight, which is often referred to as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Professor Taylor said: “Doctors tend to assume that type 2 diabetes has a different cause in those who aren’t overweight.
“This means that, unlike those who are overweight, those who are of normal weight aren’t usually advised to lose weight before being given diabetes drugs and insulin.
“Instead, there’s a tendency to start them on insulin and other medication at a much earlier stage.”
This study has shown that if those of normal weight lose 10-15 percent of their weight, they may be able to get rid of their condition.
Carrying too much weight is known to increase the risk of a variety of health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems.
These preliminary results suggest diabetes is not caused by obesity but by being too heavy for your own body, according to the researchers.
“As a rule of thumb, your waist size should be the same now as when you were 21.
“If you can’t get into the same size trousers now, you are carrying too much fat and therefore at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even if you aren’t overweight,” said Professor Taylor.
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