Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
Pp. 39-64 (26)
Obesity is a well known major modifiable risk factor for type 2 diabetes and as many as 25
other chronic conditions. The prevalences of obesity and obesity-related metabolic disorders, such as
type 2 diabetes and many others, are increasing in both the developed and the developing world. Public
health programmes that encourage people at individual and community levels to adopt healthy lifestyle
are urgently needed to tackle the globally felt burden imposed by obesity. Based on current evidence
BMI or Waist Circumference (WC) or Waist-To-Hip Ratio (WHR) predict or are associated with type 2
diabetes independently. It remains an open question as to which of these obesity indicators is best at
predicting type 2 diabetes. Therefore both BMI and WC can be used as surrogate measures of obesity.
The fact that diabetes prevalence varies markedly among different ethnic groups for the same BMI or
WC suggests uniform cutoff values can not be applied on a worldwide basis. Longitudinal studies are
needed to clarify the mechanism by which body composition, body fat distribution, genetic, social,
cultural and behavioural factors predispose individuals to type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, obesity, body mass index, waist circumference, ethnicity, cutoff values.
Department of Public Health, Hjelt Institute, University of Helsinki, PL41, Mannerheimintie 172, 00014, Helsinki, Finland