Living with Diabetes

Obesity

What is obesity?

Healthcare providers consider obesity a chronic illness that is associated with a wide range of diseases including, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, cancer. Obesity is an abnormal and excessive amount of body fat that could harm the health. Body weight is classified according to the body mass index (BMI) which is a weight for height measure. The following table summarizes the categorization:

Weight BMI
Normal 18.5 - 24.9 kg/m2
Overweight 25 - 29.9 kg/m2
Obese > 30 kg/m2


The Link between besity and Type 2 Diabetes

Research demonstrates a definite link between Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Excess abdominal weight makes the body insensitive to insulin, resulting in an increased insulin secretion and less effectiveness (insulin resistance). Insulin resistance is one of the main aspects of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

More than 75% of people with Type 2 Diabetes are either obese or have a history of being obese. As the BMI decreases, the chance developing Diabetes becomes less. Thus, an individual should try to keep the BMI below 30 kg/m2 as much as possible.
 
Manage your weight

Weight management and adopting a healthy life style are essential for everyone. Moreover, it is especially beneficial for people with Diabetes. Weight management may include a combination of diet, physical activity and sometimes medications; bariatric surgery might be recommended in certain cases of extreme obesity.
 
1. Diet and healthy eating

A nutritionist might help lose weight, if it became a challenge. For a safer weight loss plan, one must check with the doctor first; this is especially critical if a patient is on insulin or other blood sugar lowering medications. It is necessary to know that effective meal plans are the ones which are tailored to your needs and to your lifestyle.
 
 Healthy Eating Tips:

 
2. Physical activity

Regular physical activity can improve your overall health. You can start with a small, specific and realistic goal. For example, start walking 10 minutes a day, for three days a week, then, increase the time to 30 minutes a day. As you become fitter, slowly increase the duration of your activity. The healthiest way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories and increase your activity. Having Diabetes does not mean you cannot become more active, but you may need to talk to your healthcare provider before you increase your activity, or start any physical activity program. This is extremely important if you are taking insulin or oral medications.
 
3. Medications

Doctors might use weight loss medications if lifestyle changes were attempted with insignificant results. Patients with BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater, would be considered for weight loss medication.
It is necessary to have a sufficient support from your healthcare provider for successful and safe weight loss; you may also need to inform your Diabetes Healthcare Team about any medications you are currently taking.
 
4. Bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgery. It is an option in cautiously selected obese adults and older adolescents. If you have Diabetes and your BMI is 35 kg/m2 or greater, you might be considered a good candidate for such surgery. There are different types of bariatric surgery, such as, gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric bypass surgery. Once you make the decision to have a bariatric surgery, your surgeon will choose the most appropriate type for you. The surgeon’s choice will ensure maximum benefit and minimal risk.