Obesity and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Being overweight and/or obese is increasingly becoming more of a problem in adolescents, resulting in more children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Until recently, this was a disease more frequently associated with adults and the elderly.

However, with the right lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and being physically active, you can effectively delay and, in many cases, prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

12 Facts About Obesity and Diabetes

  • There are 200 million people with diabetes worldwide. This figure is projected to rise to 330 million by 2025, largely due to population growth, aging, urbanization and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • At least 50% of all people with diabetes are unaware of their condition. In some countries this figure may rise to 80%.
  • Diabetes is the fourth main cause of death in most developed countries. Recent figures from the World Health Organization indicate that 3.2 million deaths worldwide are attributable to diabetes every year – that’s six deaths per minute.
  • People with diabetes are three times more likely to require hospitalization than those without the condition.
  • Currently, 5 to 10% of the world’s healthcare budget is spent on diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of death due to heart attack and stroke, and the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure in developed countries.
  • People with diabetes are 14 to 40 times more likely to require a lower limb amputation compared with the general population.
  • Obesity is the main modifiable risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
  • Being overweight is now the most common medical condition of childhood.
  • Obesity can reduce the life expectancy of people with type 2 diabetes by up to eight years.
  • 80% of people are overweight when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
  • Lifestyle interventions, including diet and moderate physical activity can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 60%.

Ways to Treat Obesity

An active lifestyle, which involves regular exercise and maintaining a nutritious diet, is the safest way to lose weight. Other ways to manage obesity include:

  • Making healthy eating part of your daily routine (see tips for eating a balanced diet in our health library)
  • Working with your doctor and a dietitian to set realistic, safe daily calorie counts.
  • Learning new ways to manage stress, rather than snacking (try yoga, meditation or exercise)

Use the chart below to see what category your BMI falls into and whether you need to be concerned about your weight.

BMI Category
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Healthy
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 - 39.9 Obese
Over 40 Extreme or high risk obesity
Learn more about achieving a healthy BMI in our Health Library.
Tags Diabetes

Last Updated: September 06, 2013