New Study Suggests Nearly Two-Thirds of Diabetes Cases Could be Avoided if U.S. Adults Were to Maintain a Healthy Weight Between their mid-20s and 40s
CINCINNATI, OH – 5/1/2018– Young adults suffering from obesity who lose enough weight to no longer be considered obese before early middle age reduce their risk of developing diabetes by nearly 70 percent compared to those who remain obese over the same life interval, according to a new study in the journal Diabetes Care.1 The research was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health and Ethicon*, part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies**.
Based on their findings, researchers estimate that if all adults who were obese at age 25 were no longer so by the time they reached their forties or fifties, there would be 9.1 percent fewer cases of diabetes in the U.S over a 10-year period. Additionally, they say, if the total U.S. population did not have obesity during this stage of life, nearly two-thirds (64.2%) of new diabetes cases could be avoided.
“Younger Americans are at a high risk for developing diabetes later in life if they’re unable to prevent or overcome obesity,” said lead study author Andrew Stokes, Ph.D†, an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. “The findings from this study underscore the importance of population-level approaches to the prevention and treatment of obesity and diabetes across the life course of individuals.”
The study data was drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Respondents ages 40 to 74 were asked to recall their weight at age 25 and at 10 years prior to taking the survey, along with reporting their current weight and height. Individuals were then categorized into one of four groups: those who never became obese (stable non-obese), those who went from obese to non-obese (losing), those who gained weight and became obese (gaining), and those whose obesity remained stable (stable obese).
The group at highest risk for diabetes were people who were obese throughout young adulthood and midlife, according to the study. Compared to this group, individuals who never had obesity reduced their risks of developing diabetes by 78 percent. Those who were obese in young adulthood but were not by midlife had a 67 percent lower risk.
“This study demonstrates there is a window of opportunity between early adulthood and middle age to largely prevent one of the most serious consequences of obesity, and that’s diabetes,” said Robin Scamuffa, a study co-author and senior principal clinical scientist, Ethicon. “Obesity is a preventable cause of diabetes, and higher awareness of the long term risks of obesity is needed, particularly among younger people.”
Obesity and Diabetes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million people have diabetes, which is 9.4 percent of the U.S. population.2 The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2014. Of this group, more than 600 million have obesity.3 In the U.S., more than 2 in 3 adults are overweight or have obesity, and about 1 in 13 are considered to have extreme obesity.4 Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.5 and causes, exacerbates or increases the risk of more than 40 other diseases, including high cholesterol, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and arthritis.6
About the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies
The Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies’ purpose is to reach more patients and restore more lives. Having advanced patient care for more than a century, these companies represent an unparalleled breadth of products, services, programs and research and development capabilities in surgical technology, orthopaedics, interventional and specialty solutions with an offering directed at delivering clinical and economic value to health care systems worldwide.
From creating the first sutures, to revolutionizing surgery with minimally invasive procedures, Ethicon, part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, has made significant contributions to surgery for more than 60 years. Our continuing dedication to Shape the Future of Surgery is built on our commitment to help address the world’s most pressing healthcare issues, and improve and save more lives. Through Ethicon’s surgical technologies and solutions including sutures, staplers, energy devices, trocars and hemostats and our commitment to treat serious medical conditions like obesity and cancer worldwide, we deliver innovation to make a life-changing impact. Learn more at www.ethicon.com, and follow us on Twitter @Ethicon.
*Ethicon represents the products and services of Ethicon, Inc., Ethicon Endo-Surgery, LLC and certain of their affiliates.
** The Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies comprise the surgery, orthopedics, and interventional solutions businesses within Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Devices segment.
†Dr. Andrew Stokes is a consultant for Ethicon.
1 Obesity Progression Between Young Adulthood and Midlife and Incident Diabetes: A Retrospective Cohort Study of US Adults, Diabetes Care 2018 May; A Stokes, JM Collins, BF Grant, RF Scamuffa, CW Hsiao, SS Johnston, EM Ammann, JE Manson, SH Preston
6 Kaplan L. J Gastrointest Surg. 2003;7(4) proceeding;443_451.