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Losing weight when obese can prevent or cure diabetes

Story Source May 7, 2012

Lowering your BMI by five units can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes, whatever your initial weight, says new research presented at the International Congress of Endocrinology/European Congress of Endocrinology in Florence, Italy. The findings show that even severely obese patients with diabetes can potentially rid themselves of the disease.

Addressing diabetes is a major priority for health providers worldwide given the vast global prevalence (approx. six to seven per cent of the world’s population; around 285 million people) and its severe complications including amputations and heart disease. Surgery for weight loss has an unexpectedly rapid and substantial therapeutic effect on diabetes rates. Understanding why weight loss has such a dramatic effect on diabetes is the focus of this study by Associate Professor Markku Peltonen from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland and colleagues from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The researchers enrolled the 2010 patients from the Swedish Obese Subjects study who had received bariatric surgery and 2037 obese controls receiving conventional (non-surgical) obesity treatment. They were assessed for BMI and diabetes at baseline (before surgery in the surgical group), and at two and 10 year follow-up.

Among patients with BMI