People who are overweight or obese and get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may have a lower a mortality risk than diabetics who are normal weight, according to a new study which shows a so-called “obesity paradox” in diabetes.
Researchers in the US say they found that adults with the type 2 form of diabetes who are overweight/obese at the time of diagnosis are likely to live longer than those who classed as normal weight.
The finding comes from new analysis of five previous studies that involved more than 2,600 participants with type 2 diabetes aged 40 and over. Of these, 12 per cent were of normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.99) when diagnosed with the disease.
During the follow-up period, a total of 449 participants died: 178 from cardiovascular causes and 253 from non-cardiovascular causes (18 were not classified).
The researchers found that the annual rates of total and non-cardiovascular mortality were significantly higher in normal-weight participants compared to those who were overweight or obese . The rates were still higher in the normal weight group after accounting for age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, waist circumference and smoking status.
They added that their results were particularly relevant to older, black and Asian patients with diabetes, who they said were more likely to be of normal weight when given a type 2 diabetes diagnosis .
Professor Hermez Florez and Dr Sumaya Castillo-Florez, both of the University of Miami, said the research could be “a wake-up call for timely prevention and management” of all type 2 diabetes patients, particularly those “who may have a false sense of protection because they are not overweight or obese” at diagnosis .

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