Obesity and diabetes epidemics could impact life expectancy

June 3, 2004 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Obesity and diabetes epidemics could impact life expectancy

Twin global epidemics of obesity and diabetes are out of control and could reduce life expectancy in the future, health experts said last week at the 13th European Congress on Obesity.

Obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes, already affects 300 million people worldwide while an estimated 194 million suffer from diabetes. By 2025 the number of obese people is expected soar to 333 million. According to the experts, within a short period of time we will begin to see a reduction in life expectancy because of the twin epidemics.

As many as 80 percent of cases of type 2 diabetes are linked to overweight or obesity, particularly abdominal obesity. The disease was once thought to be limited to adults but obese children are now developing the illness. In the United States, the prevalence of excess weight and obesity in adolescents has nearly tripled in the past two decades.

In 30 years time, the number of people in the U.S. with diabetes is expected to increase by 57 percent. For some countries in the Middle East and Asia the number will double.

A new report on diabetes released at the conference, estimated that at least half of all diabetes cases would be eliminated if excessive weight gain could be prevented.

Even a small weight loss, of about 5 percent, can decrease or slow down the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other complications of the illness, such as a raised risk of cardiovascular and kidney disease and some forms of cancer.

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