Obesity and diabetes are closely linked together – and both conditions are also linked to a wide variety of other negative health conditions, including heart disease. While there’s no question that obesity reduces the overall quality of life by limiting mobility and decreasing health, the evidence clearly shows that obesity leads to a whole host of conditions that can seriously diminish one’s health and life expectancy.
Here are some statistics that may open your eyes: 97 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes have the condition because of obesity. Moreover, about 61 percent of adult Americans are overweight – that’s about 97 million adults. In the last two decades, this percentage has increased by 50 percent. (Source: http://www.imtypefree.com/diabetes-and-body-fat.html)
In order to manage (or prevent) diabetes, it is important to minimize overall body fat as much as possible. By reducing body fat by only 5-10 percent, individuals may be able to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes or severely limit the complications associated with the condition if they have already developed it.
Here’s some helpful information about body fat:
• An individual with a body fat percentage below 18.5 is considered to be underweight.
• Body fat percentages between 18.5 and 24.9 are normal weight.
• Body fat percentages between 25 and 29.9 are overweight. This category applies to about 61 percent of Americans, including Americans categorized as obese.
• Body fat percentages that are over 30 percent are obese.
A body fat scale is a helpful tool in determining overall body fat and may be more effective than a standard calculation because of muscle and bone density.
The American Diabetes Association encourages all individuals with diabetes or who may be at risk for developing diabetes to work hard to reduce their body fat percentages. According to the ADA, some strategies to reduce body fat include eating nutritious meals, exercising, and controlling food portions. “Quick fix” diets should be avoided, as they are difficult to maintain. Instead, it is important to stress lifestyle changes. For example, with regards to that sweet tooth that many people have, by slowly reducing or eliminating sugary foods from the diet, the cravings for sweets will go away – leading to a long-term positive change in diet and nutrition.
Diabetics need to remember that losing weight not only impacts diabetes and its side effects, but can also have positive influences on other areas of their health, including cardiovascular health. For help losing weight, diabetics can speak with a registered dietician and their physicians for a customized weight loss plan that is designed to suit their bodies and lifestyles.