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Gaining Weight Later in Life Ups Diabetes Risk
Date:6/22/2010

Increased waist circumference also increases type 2 chances, study finds

TUESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Gaining weight when you're over age 50, especially around the waist, significantly increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

Compared to people whose weight remained stable after age 50, people who gained the most weight after 50 (more than 20 pounds) nearly tripled their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the study in the June 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"People over the age of 65 are at the highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and they have the highest rates of morbidity and mortality from heart disease, which can be related to diabetes. This is really a key clinic and public health issue," said study author Mary Biggs, a research scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"We showed a strong relationship between increasing weight and waist circumference with the risk of type 2 diabetes," she said. "It's important as we get older to try to maintain an optimal weight."

Nearly 24 million Americans have some form of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Each year, more than 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed with the disease, according to the ADA. Most people who have diabetes have type 2 disease. Being overweight is a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, no matter what your age.

What hasn't been well-studied, according to Biggs and her colleagues, is how body composition and changing weight affects the risk of diabetes in older adults.

Using data from the Cardiovascular Health Study conducted from 1989 to 2007, the researchers reviewed information on nearly 4,200 people over the age of 65.

At the start of the study, none of the study participants had been diagnosed with diabetes. Statistics on body-mass index (BMI), waist
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