Weight loss can protect overweight boys from developing type 2 diabetes

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Reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes

As reported in previous studies, we found an increased risk for type 2 diabetes in adulthood among boys who had overweight (here we use the term overweight to describe the disease, in the same way we use ‘type 2 diabetes’) at age seven, thirteen, and older.

In our study, we showed that losing weight before reaching early adulthood subsequently reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on. Specifically, boys with overweight had the same risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life (between the ages of 30 and 60) as boys of a normal weight, provided they reduced their BMI before puberty and maintained that weight loss until early adulthood.

Boys were only more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as adults if the overweight remained by the time they reached puberty and beyond.

We also saw that severely overweight seven and thirteen year old boys benefit from reducing their BMI before they reach puberty. They cannot completely eliminate the risk, but they can reduce it significantly.

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Overweight thirteen-year-olds at higher risk

You can see example BMIs for each age group in the table below.

Let’s take two examples as an illustration:

  • A boy aged seven weighs 23 kilograms and measures 1.22 metres tall. If we divide his weight by his height (23/1.22) we can calculate his BMI: 15.4 kilograms per square metre. He has a normal weight.
  • A boy aged seven, weighs 28 kilograms and is 1.22 metres tall. He has a BMI of 18.8 kilograms per square metre. He is overweight.

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