Body shape: Does it increase your risk of diabetes?

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Body shape: Does it increase your risk of diabetes?

Question

I know that obesity is a risk factor for diabetes. But I've been told that body shape also plays a role. Is this true?

Sally
Canada

Answer

Yes, it's true. People who carry most of their excess weight around their waist (often called "apples") are at greater risk of diabetes than are those who carry most of their excess weight below their waist (often called "pears").

The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your body's cells become to the effects of your own insulin. But this appears especially true if your weight is concentrated around your abdomen.

To determine whether you're carrying too much weight around your abdomen, measure the circumference of your waist at its smallest point, usually at the level of your navel. Using a flexible, cloth-like tape measure is best. A measurement of more than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women indicates increased health risks.

The good news is that you can lower your risk of diabetes by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Last Updated: 03/21/2006
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