A study of London based civil servants indicates that being overweight for many years carries a very significant risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers in Gentoften, Denmark selected 6,705 civil servants who were enrolled in the Whitehall II study. Participants were white men and women, of working age and initially free of diabetes. Each civil servant had clinical examinations once every 5 years between 1991 and 2009.
The results showed that almost one in ten of the participants, 645 of the civil servants, went on to develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes over the course of the study.
As part of their analysis, the researchers organised those that developed type 2 diabetes into three different categories:

The consistently overweight – participants who started the study period overweight and neither gained nor lost a significant amount of weight.
The weight gainers – those that had gained weight consistently leading to their type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
The consistently obese – civil servants that were obese at the start of the study and remained that way throughout.

The research team discovered a very interesting trend in that 94% of the participants that developed type 2 diabetes were in the consistently overweight category. The consistently obese category accounted for 4% of those that developed type 2 diabetes and the weight gainers accounted for the remaining 2%.
The study carries an important message that, even if you are not obese, being overweight for over a decade appears to be a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The researchers note that achieving modest and steady weight loss for all people with a higher than healthy BMI may be more effective than targeting interventions on only the most high risk groups.

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