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Diabetes

Losing Weight Can Go a Long Way Toward Warding Off Type 2 Diabetes

Macklin E. Guzmán, D.H.Sc., M.P.H.

Chief Science Officer, Medi-Weightloss

Experts have coined the term “diabesity” to describe the ever-growing and intricately linked association between obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Researchers have investigated both diseases and determined them to be key contributors to the list of chronic diseases and conditions continuing to spread throughout the globe. Such life-threatening health complications include chronic inflammation, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.

The coexistence of these two modern day pandemics leads to disastrous health consequences that will worsen over time unless effective prevention and treatment interventions are established.  

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40 percent of the U.S. adult population is obese. If overweight individuals are also included in those figures, that number jumps to over 70 percent. Despite local, national, and international efforts, obesity rates continue to increase, contributing to a global health problem.

Similarly, the rate of type 2 diabetes has tripled in the past 30 years. Almost 10 percent of the U.S. population has T2D and nearly 25 percent of people are undiagnosed. Just as troublesome and devastating is the number of people who have prediabetes — and estimated 1 in 3 U.S. adults, and 90 percent of the people who have prediabetes are unaware.

Weight loss can help

According to the World Health Organization, obesity is a major independent risk factor in the development of T2D. More than 90 people who have the disease are overweight or obese. The causes of both obesity and type 2 diabetes are varied and complex, however, we know that extra weight in the form of fat makes cells less receptive to the hormone insulin, which transports blood sugar  to cells in order to give them energy, thus sending the pancreas into overdrive and resulting in high blood sugar.

High blood sugar, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet are all contributors to obesity and T2D, which manifest themselves into chronic health problems like insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction.  

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Many obesity-related chronic diseases share similar underlying causes, making them preventable and, in many instances, reversible through intensive lifestyle behavioral changes, such as weight loss and diet.  

Medically-supervised weight management programs

When coupled with medical supervision and intensive lifestyle behavior therapy, treatment options like very-low-calorie diets (VLCD) tend to successfully promote weight loss. Participating in an evidence-based weight management program ensures that an individual is being safely monitored and provided with individualized care for lifelong success.  

According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders, participants who enrolled in a physician- and dietitian-supervised program, and followed a VLCD, lost 10-15 percent of their weight within 10-20 weeks.

In an award-winning study presented at The Obesity Society’s annual Obesity Week℠ meeting in 2013, Medi-Weightloss® researchers, in collaboration with the University of South Florida and San Diego State University, found that nearly half of incoming patients had or were at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Before participating in the program, 11 percent and 75 percent of patients who received initial and follow-up diabetes-related testing were classified as having T2D and prediabetes, respectively. After 25-35 pounds of weight loss, those numbers dropped to 2 percent and 40 percent. By participating in the program, many reduced signs of both diseases.

Macklin E. Guzmán, D.H.Sc., M.P.H., Chief Science Officer, Medi-Weightloss, [email protected]

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