The European Society of Endocrinology recently collaborated on a protocol to get control of type 2 diabetes. This disease is raging across the developed and the developing world with an estimated 285 million people having it (6.4%) and that expected to reach 438 million (7.8%) before 2030. Diabetes is the number one cause of adult onset blindness and adult onset amputation. This is a disease which has repeatedly been demonstrated to be controllable through diet and exercise and in extreme cases, with surgery and medication. There is no reason why so many people have this disease and no reason why it gets so bad in so many cases.

The ESE reported that the rate of type 2 diabetes among those with a BMI <35, 35-40 and <40 is 6.5%, 7.7% and 9.3% respectively. Dropping 5 BMI units would reduce that rate to 2.4%, 2.0% and 3.4% respectively. Losing excess body fat clearly has a profound effect on an individual’s body and that body’s ability to regain control of the insulin systems.

Keep in mind, losing 5 BMI units is no small task. If someone who has 5’10” (178cm) and weighed 260lb (118kg) they would have a BMI of 37.3. Reducing this to a BMI of 32 would mean losing 35lb (15.9kg). This is no small feat but clearly and demonstrably worth the effort. This person would still weigh in at 225lb and clearly would still have some weight to lose (assuming it was not muscle) but the benefits to control diabetes as demonstrated above are clear.

If this is done via nutrition and exercise, surgery or drugs or any combination thereof- this person has begun the process of taking control of their health. It is a long road to health but progress is progress. Get some people walking, eating one vegetable a day and in a support group- these little changes will only get them down 3-6lb, but we all start somewhere.  There is a very serious concern that countries with a public health care system will face extreme financial pressures between helping the baby boomers through old-age and helping their children through diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. This is becoming a very real threat to long-term financial health to economies. Recall that here we discussed how as little as 30min of moderate activity will induce dramatic changes in various long-term health outcomes.

If you have a very high BMI and it’s not from muscle, consider what small steps you can do to get the ball rolling. Good luck