Controlling Weight Key to Avoiding Diabetes

by Lois Etienne on March 25, 2011

in Diabetes

Question: As I approach 75, I’m worried about contracting diabetes like my parents did.  What can I do to avoid going down the same path?  Since my wife died it’s more difficult for me to eat balanced and healthy meals.

Diabetes has doubled in the U.S. in the last 15 years and is highest among older adults ages 65 to 79 so many other seniors face these issues and share your concerns.  Start with your doctor, who may very well tell you what other studies have confirmed: weight control is one important way to keep type 2 diabetes away.  In fact, yet another recent study addresses this very topic.

Researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle, examined the relationship between measures of overall body fat, fat distribution, changes in these measures and diabetes risk among 4,193 men and women 65 and older.

They discovered that the Body Mass Index (BMI) at 50 years of age, weight, fat mass, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, and waist-height ratio were all strongly related to the risk of diabetes.

Compared with participants whose weight remained stable (plus or minus 4.4 pounds) over the time period, those who gained 20 pounds or more between the age of 50 years and entry into the study had an approximately three-fold greater risk of developing diabetes during follow-up, regardless of their BMI at 50 years of age.

Participants who were obese (BMI 30 or greater) at 50 years of age and who experienced the most weight gain (more than 20 pounds) between the age of 50 years and entry into the study had five times the risk of developing diabetes compared with weight-stable participants with normal BMI (less than 25) at 50 years of age.

Ask your doctor to recommend a good diet and exercise program.  If you’re having trouble managing mealtimes, why not consider joining friends for lunch at a senior center or local coffee shop.  Also consider seeking the support of a professional caregiving company.  Shopping, meal preparation and mealtime companionship are among the most requested services provided by Home Instead Senior Care® CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured.

For more information or to get answers to your questions, please contact your Home Instead Senior Care office.

For more information about the diabetes study, log on to http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2010j/0622.dtl#3.

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