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Type 2 diabetes: a study identifies the optimal BMI according to age to limit cardiovascular risks

  • April 2, 2024
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It is a chronic disease that affects nearly 3.5 million people in France: diabetes. It is characterized “by the presence of excess sugar in the blood, called hyperglycemia”writes Health Public France. Among the sick, type 2 diabetes is widely represented, because it accounts for 90% of cases. Certain reflexes must then be adopted, firstly hygiene and dietetic measures and, if necessary, additional treatment. Among the complications, we note the occurrence of cardiovascular illnesses.

To reduce the risks, researchers at the Xiangyang Central Hospital in China wondered about the ideal BMI for a patient. If weight varies throughout life, they estimate that for a patient aged 65 or youngermaintaining a body mass index (BMI) In the normal range of 23 to 25 kg/m² would be protective. Their results have not been published in a scientific journal, but they will be presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO 2024) which will be held in Venice from May 12 to 15.

Type 2 diabetes: being overweight increases cardiovascular risk by 13% in patients under 65

To arrive at these conclusions, the researchers based themselves on data from the UK Biobank, a long-term study to analyze the effects of environmental exposure and the development of certain diseases. This represented a panel of 22,874 people suffering from type 2 diabetes at the start of the study. These were divided into two groups depending on their age. THE elderly people (over 65 years old) and the middle-aged people (65 years or younger). For 12 years, researchers studied the occurrence of cardiovascular accidents using the participants’ medical records. Additionally, they collected certain information such as BMI or waist circumference.

Over the period analyzed, researchers noted 891 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases. The researchers calculated the optimal threshold for patients’ BMI based on the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. They also took into account certain external factors such as smoking or a sedentary lifestyle.

As a reminder, BMI is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a simple measure of weight for height commonly used to estimate overweight and obesity”. It is calculated by dividing weight by height squared. You can calculate your BMI using our online tool.

Type 2 diabetes: the optimal BMI would be 24 to limit cardiovascular risks in middle-aged patients

According to the researchers’ results, for people in the middle age group (i.e. 65 years maximum), maintain a BMI in the overweight range, namely 25 kg/m² to 29.9 kg/m², “was associated with a 13% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those with a BMI in the normal range (less than 25.0 kg/m²).” More precisely, l’IMC optimal for those under 65 was 24 kg/m².

But in people aged over 65 years old, the authors note that a slightly higher BMI would be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. According to them, the optimal threshold of BMI was 27 kg/m². “It is important to note that the optimal BMI for people with type 2 diabetes varies by age, independent of traditional cardiometabolic risk factors,” explains lead author Dr. Shaoyong Xu of Xiangyang Central Hospital in a statement.

Cardiovascular disease: a slight excess weight would be protective in those over 65 suffering from type 2 diabetes

According to its results, “For older people who are moderately overweight, but not obese, maintaining weight rather than losing it may be a more practical way to reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.”

But how can we explain that a BMI of 27 can protect people over the age of 65 and suffering from type 2 diabetes from cardiovascular disease? According to them, “possible biological mechanisms that explain this ‘obesity survival paradox’ in older adults may be associated with a lower rate of bone losswhich reduces the effects of fall and trauma episodes, and moreover large nutritional reserves to cope with periods of acute stress”.

However, the authors emphasize that this is only an observational study, therefore cannot establish cause and effect. They call for further research on the subject.

Sources :

  • UK Biobank study identifies ideal body weight for adults with type 2 diabetes to minimise risk of dying from cardiovascular disease – European Congress on Obesity (ECO 2024) Venice 12-15 May
  • Public Health France – Diabetes
  • World Health Organization (WHO) – Diabetes
author avatar
Louis Tardy