Rich or Poor, Fat People Have Higher Diabetes Risk (Update2)
By Frances Schwartzkopff
Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Fat people who are rich are just as likely to develop a precursor to diabetes as those who are poor, suggesting that money for a healthier diet and better treatment matters less than being active, researchers reported.
Obese people employed in professional jobs had just as much difficulty breaking down the sugar collecting in their blood as those in manual jobs, the study of almost 1,300 women and men in 14 European countries found. Abstaining from smoking offered little protection. A related study found physical activity of any sort helped stave off the disease.
Diabetes affects more than 246 million people worldwide, and the figure will rise by 25 percent in 2025 as more people become sedentary. The researchers looked at people who were becoming insulin resistant, a condition that often leads to diabetes.
``People are under the impression that you have to go and put your jogging shoes on,'' Mark Walker, a professor at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and one of the researchers, said today in an interview at the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. ``We're saying no. Fidgeting is good.''
Sugar collects in the bloodstream when muscle and fat cells and the liver no longer respond normally to insulin, the hormone that prompts them to take up sugar. Impaired insulin sensitivity wears out the pancreas, which responds by producing more insulin. That can lead to diabetes.
Diabetes-related deaths worldwide probably will climb by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years, as people eat more and become more sedentary, the World Health Organization estimates.
The research is part of a larger investigation into the relationship between insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular disease. The so-called RISC study is being conducted in 14 countries.
Preliminary three-year data suggests insulin resistance, the subsequent increase in insulin, and obesity all likely contribute to a higher risk of heart disease. Researchers, who will conduct a 10-year follow-up, also found study participants with normal blood sugar levels but evidence of pancreatic dysfunction were three times more likely to develop pre-diabetes or diabetes and twice as likely to develop abdominal obesity.
To contact the reporter on this story: Frances Schwartzkopff in Copenhagen at firstname.lastname@example.org