Can being overweight benefit those with Type 2 diabetes?

Can being overweight benefit those with Type 2 diabetes?

Packing a few extra pounds could decrease mortality from Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

People with Type 2 diabetes who are overweight, but not obese, live longer than those who are normal-weight or underweight, which is known as the “obesity paradox” effect.

“People like to hear good news about their bad habits, and what people will likely focus on in this study is the aspect of overweight and longevity,” says Dr. Ashwani Garg, family medicine physician on staff at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. “But, what use is longevity without good health?”

Researchers followed more than 10,500 patients with Type 2 diabetes and no known cardiovascular disease for over 10 years. They also collected data about cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality.

The overweight and obese patients had an increased risk for cardiovascular events, but those who were overweight had a better survival rate compared to those who were underweight or normal-weight.

“The most important takeaway is that this study is not the message that being overweight is better for a diabetic, but that patients who have diabetes and are overweight or obese have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Garg says. “Studies like this have to be interpreted with caution.”

Researchers offered possible explanations for the obesity paradox.

Those included Type 2 diabetes induced by the metabolic stress of obesity may fundamentally differ from that which develops in the absence of obesity, and patients with Type 2 diabetes and a low body mass index might have higher tobacco and alcohol consumption, leading contributing to both the development of diabetes and a lower BMI.

Obese patients may also be more likely to be checked for diabetes, leading to earlier diagnosis.

Researchers cautioned that the study’s results don’t suggest an ideal BMI and shouldn’t discourage patients from adopting a healthy lifestyle.

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  1. Wil.l this infromation be used in determining BMI for Healthe You?

  2. Dr. Ashwani Garg

    This statement is definitely not true according to the study: “Packing a few extra pounds could decrease mortality from Type 2 diabetes” – this was not a study taking healthy, slim volunteers and making them gain weight to see if they reduced their mortality. This was purely an observational finding and not a research finding. According to the website itself: “The explanation for these results is unknown and does not mean that patients with diabetes should try to become overweight. Patients should continue to follow a healthy lifestyle.” – so this study does not change my advice to be active, incorporate 30 – 60 minutes of moderate activity daily, eat a healthy plant-based diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes with a small serving of nuts/seeds, and eliminate or minimize processed foods, oils, meat/cheese/poultry, etc. For great advice on diabetes, see and – these 2 doctors have slightly different suggestions on managing diabetes, but both give good advice.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.