Type II diabetes has become the lifestyle disease of modern times. The two main risk factors according to doctors are being seriously overweight, as measured by body mass index (BMI), and a lack of exercise. But which one carries the greater risk?
According to new research, obesity wins it by more than a stomach. By comparison a lack of exercise seems to increase the risk only marginally.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, USA selected 37,878 women who had no cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes, and watched their progress for close to seven years. During that time 1,361 women went on to develop diabetes, and found that those who were overweight were over three times more likely to develop the condition, while the risk shot up to nine times in women who were obese.
But the women who were relatively inactive - based on the amount of walking, general exercise and stair climbing they did - increased their risk by less than one times.
The results are no great surprise, but we are intrigued to know just how the women put on the weight. We hazard a guess that it was down to a diet rich in processed and fast foods - which is directly linked to diabetes. The weight gain is an unfortunate, but relatively harmless, side effect.