Question: Am I at an increased risk of developing diabetes because I am overweight?
Answer: Overweight and obesity is clearly a risk factor for type 2 diabetes in particular. So if you're overweight your risk increases, it increases even more if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes. We know now that as our country and, in fact, most of the world, is experiencing an overweight and obesity epidemic that is beginning even in children. So the expression of type 2 diabetes is emerging earlier and earlier.
There's been a lot of interest in what it is about obesity or overweight that predisposes to diabetes. And one of the pieces of information that's emerged from recent research is that it does matter where the excess weight is deposited. And the area that appears to be most linked to the development of type 2 diabetes in overweight people is the fat around the waist.
This has given rise to the idea of the 'apple' form of obesity, where the weight is distributed around the midriff, as opposed to the 'pear' shape that is seen in some overweight people, where the excess weight is distributed in the lower part of the body, and there the risk seems to be much less than those who have the excess weight around their waist.