Teenage body mass index (BMI) could be a predictor of diabetes mortality in later life, according to a new Israeli study.
While these findings are concerning, making healthy lifestyle changes can help people with diabetes or at risk of diabetes reduce their likelihood of complications.
Scientists at the Sheba Medical Centre report that the increasing worldwide rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes among children “points to a substantially increased future adult diabetes burden”.
Around 2.3 million Israeli adolescents had their BMI values measured between 1967 and 2010, with death outcomes attributed to diabetes obtained through official national records.
A total of 481 deaths attributable to diabetes were identified during a median follow-up time of 18.4 years.
Those who were overweight and obese as adolescents had higher hazard ratios for diabetes mortality, even after adjustment for multiple confounding variables.
“Adolescent BMI, including values within the currently accepted ‘normal’ range, strongly predicts DM mortality up to the seventh decade,” said the study authors.
“The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, and of adolescents in the mid- and high-normal range, is likely to account for a large and increasing proportion of DM incidence, its related microvascular and macrovascular complications, and DM (diabetes mellitus) mortality.”
Incidences of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes were grouped together in the study, but the researchers noted that “early-onset type 2 diabetes among obese young adults seems to be a more aggressive disease from a vascular stand-point, leading to an increased risk of complications”.
If you are worried about your weight and how it may affect your longer-term health, take a look at our Low Carb Program. It provides guidance on eating healthy food in a straightforward way and can be easily adopted into your own lifestyle.
The findings of this study appear online in the journal Diabetes Care.

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