World Bulletin / News Desk
Obesity and diabetes may not be the double whammy people expect, with an analysis of previous studies surprisingly finding that overweight and obese people who get diagnosed with the blood sugar disorder tend to live longer than leaner peers.
The findings, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, were based on data from five earlier studies that tracked people over time to identify risk factors for heart disease.
Study leader Mercedes Carnethon of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago said this sort of "obesity paradox" had been observed before in chronic diseases such as heart and kidney failure - but it doesn't mean gaining weight is a good way to improve your prognosis if you get the disease.
In fact, it's probably not that extra pounds are protective, but that lean people who get diabetes are somehow predisposed to worse health.
"Perhaps those individuals are somehow genetically loaded to develop diabetes and have higher mortality," she said. "A normal-weight person who has diabetes has an extremely high mortality rate."
More than 2,600 participants developed type 2 diabetes during the studies, and 12 percent of them had a normal weight when they got the diagnosis.
The death rate was 1.5 percent per year among overweight and obese people, compared to 2.8 percent per year among their trimmer peers.
After accounting for several risk factors for heart disease, including age, blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, lean people were more than twice as likely to die at any given point as heavier people. The same held true for deaths caused by heart disease, which is linked to obesity.
"It was a little bit unexpected to see that," said Carnethon.
One potential limitation of the study is that the researchers couldn't always account for how much people smoked, which might explain part of the results.
It's also possible that a few people might have been diagnosed with diabetes outside of the studies and been told to slim down by their own doctor before they were seen by the study researchers. That could also have contributed to the findings, although Carnethon said the effect would be small.
She added that it's not clear how to best treat normal-weight people with type 2 diabetes, although weight training seems preferable over cardio exercise.
Older people and people of Asian descent are more likely to be normal-weight when diagnosed, and Carnethon stressed that doctors need to take the disorder extra seriously when it's not accompanied by obesity.
El Nino has devastated Mozambique's Gorongosa park with political tensions threatening the park
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on skin for a few minutes to create suction, the therapy itself dates back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Earth has hit a record high with an overall globel temperature the highest ever on record
The National Institute of Health may fund research into mixed embryos to better understand human diseases and develop therapies to treat them.
Travel across multiple time zones disrupts circadian rhythms resulting in jet lag
After five years the radiation levels in the Pacific Ocean are close to normal levels after a nuclear meltdown in the city
A trilateral pledge will see a jump from the current collective clean power levels of about 37% to 50% by 2025
Around 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed each year to poor air quality inside and outside, making it the world's fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking
New World Drug Report research identifies heroin as deadliest drug
Zika has caused alarm throughout the Americas since cases of the birth defect microcephaly were reported in Brazil, the country hardest hit by the outbreak
Philadelphia has become the first big city in the US to place a tax on soda to tackle the obesity crisis
Average global temperatures startlingly higher than normal between March-May
Government study provides strongest evidence of cell phone health effects
The reason for the high-level threat in the area is the presence there of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus that health authorities say causes birth defects in newborns
Three-day African Utility Week conference begins in South African city of Cape Town