The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
New research published in Diabetologia and presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., shows that excessively high body mass index (BMI) in adolescents is linked to the development of type 1 diabetes (the form of the condition more associated with autoimmune complications), not just the type 2 form usually associated with excess weight. The study is by Professor Gilad Twig, Sheba Medical Center, Israel, and colleagues.
Type 1 diabetes has been traditionally referred to as childhood diabetes, while type 2 diabetes, is linked to risk factors such as obesity/excess weight, low physical activity, and increased sedentary behavior.
More recently, studies in younger children have reported an association between increased BMI and risk for developing type 1 diabetes, but evidence in late adolescence is limited. This is of interest as approximately 50% of cases of type 1 diabetes developed after late adolescence (from age 18 years). In this new study, the authors analyzed the association between BMI in late adolescence and incident type 1 diabetes in young adulthood.
In this nationwide study, all Israeli adolescents, ages 16–19 years, undergoing medical evaluation in preparation for mandatory military conscription between January 1996 and December 2016, were included for analysis unless they had a history of abnormal blood sugar. A total of 1.46 million adolescents were included.
There were 777 new cases of type 1 diabetes during 15,819,750 person-years of follow-up (mean age at diagnosis 25 years). BMI was found to be associated with incident type 1 diabetes. In a model adjusted for age, sex and socio-demographic variables, the increased risk of type 1 diabetes increased as BMI increased.
Compared with those adolescents classified as having optimal BMI, adolescents with obesity had double the risk of developing type 1 diabetes, while those classified as overweight had a 54% increased risk of type 1 diabetes.
The authors concluded: “Our study adds to the growing evidence regarding the health hazards associated with adolescent obesity. Not only is adolescent obesity correlated with adult-onset of type 2 diabetes as previously reported, but also with type 1 diabetes. Further work needs to be done to unravel this association so that we can better address the full spectrum of risks posed by the obesity epidemic or identify common environmental factors affecting both weight and type 1 diabetes.”