Type 2 diabetes risk has been shown to be increased in young people

Type 2 diabetes risk has been shown to be increased in young people

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Study shows: Height affects the risk of diabetes

According to a new study, smaller people are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Previous scientific studies have shown that body size has an influence on diabetes, but also on cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

According to a new study published in the journal "Diabetologia", a smaller body size is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. As a result, older people have a lower risk of diabetes. According to the information, the risk is reduced by 41 percent for men every ten centimeters in size and for women by 33 percent.

Risk also due to a higher liver fat content

According to the authors, including Dr. Clemens Wittenbecher and Professor Matthias Schulze from the German Institute for Nutritional Research Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE), the increased risk in smaller people could be due to a higher liver fat content and an unfavorable profile of the cardiometabolic risk factors.

As reported by the Medical Xpress portal, lower body size has been associated with a higher risk of diabetes in several studies, suggesting that the size could be used to determine the risk of the disease.

Insulin sensitivity and beta cell function have been reported to be better in older people. Small height is associated with a higher cardiovascular risk, which is partly caused by cardiometabolic risk factors for type 2 diabetes (e.g. blood pressure, blood lipids and inflammation).

The new study was based on data collected as part of an investigation called "European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition" (EPIC). Between 1994 and 1998, a total of 27,548 participants - 16, 644 women between the ages of 35 and 65 and 10,904 men between the ages of 40 and 65 - were recruited from the population of Potsdam.

Various physical data were collected from the subjects, including body weight, height and seat height (with leg length calculated as the difference between the two), waist circumference and blood pressure. For the current study, a sub-cohort of 2,500 participants (approx. 10%) was selected at random, which was representative of the entire study. Those who already had diabetes or could not be followed up were excluded and 2,307 were used for analysis. In addition, 797 participants from the full cohort who had type 2 diabetes were included.

Weight and leg length also have an impact

The study found that the risk of developing diabetes was reduced by 41 percent in men who were ten centimeters apart and 33 percent in women. The relationship between height and diabetes risk appeared to be stronger in normal-weight people, with an 86% lower risk per 10 cm taller height in men and with a 67% lower risk per 10 cm taller height in women.

In overweight / obese individuals, every 10 cm taller body was associated with a 36% lower risk of diabetes for men and 30% lower for women. "This could indicate that a higher risk of diabetes with a larger waist size counteracts the positive effects in terms of body size, regardless of whether a larger waist size is due to growth or excessive calorie consumption," the authors said.

Increased leg length was associated with a lower risk of diabetes. There was a slight gender difference - a higher seat height was associated with an increased risk at the expense of the leg length, while both the leg length and the seat height contributed to a lower risk in women.

Cardiometabolic risk factors

The authors claim that pre-puberty growth, which is more related to leg length, is more beneficial to the later risk of diabetes than growth during puberty. Both growth periods seem to be important for girls.

The scientists also calculated the extent to which the inverse associations of height and height with type 2 diabetes risk can be explained by liver fat (measured as a fatty liver index) and other cardiometabolic risk factors. When the results were adjusted for liver fat content, the reduced risk of diabetes for men per 10 cm height was 34% (compared to 40% in the overall result) and the reduced risk for women was only 13% compared to 33% in the overall result. Other biomarkers also affected the results.

Taken together, a large part of the reduced risk associated with increased body size is due to taller people with lower liver fat and a "healthier" cardiometabolic profile, the authors say. "Our results suggest that small people may have a higher cardiometabolic risk factor level and a higher risk of diabetes than tall people ..." the researchers write.

And: “These observations confirm that height is a useful predictor of diabetes risk, and they suggest that monitoring cardiometabolic risk factors may be more appropriate in smaller people. Liver fat in particular contributes to the higher risk in smaller people, and since adult height appears to be largely unchanged, liver fat intervention can offer alternative approaches to reducing the risk associated with lower body size. ”

However, they add, “Our study also suggests that early interventions to reduce high-level metabolic risk throughout life are likely to focus on determinants of growth in sensitive periods during pregnancy, early childhood, puberty, and early adulthood and should take into account potential gender differences. "

Previous studies had also found a connection between body size and the risk of diabetes, but also other diseases. The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) wrote in a message years ago: "Tall people have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, but a higher risk of cancer." That was what DZD scientists had in Collaborated with colleagues from the Public Health and Medical School in Boston, USA. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Diabetologia: Associations of short stature and components of height with incidence of type 2 diabetes: mediating effects of cardiometabolic risk factors, (access: 10.09.2019), Diabetologia
  • German Center for Diabetes Research: HEALTH RISK MARKED BODY SIZE - EFFECT ON HEART CIRCULAR DISEASES, DIABETES AND CANCER, (accessed: September 10, 2019), German Center for Diabetes Research

Video: Type 2 Diabetes and Macrovascular Complications (May 2022).


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  4. Morten

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