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NewsBites August 2018 Issue

High body fat may raise diabetes risk, even with normal BMI

New research shows that people who have a high body fat percentage may be more prone to diabetes, even if their body mass index (BMI) classifies them as “normal weight.” People classified as “normal weight” according to BMI may have a high percent body fat if they do not have much muscle.

A cross-sectional study in BMJ Open looked at the percent body fat of over 6,000 Americans 40 years old and older who had never been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. In this study, normal weight individuals with high body fat percentage (25% or higher for men and 35% or higher for women) were significantly more likely to have abnormal blood glucose levels (prediabetes or diabetes) than “overweight” individuals with lower body fat percentage. The researchers recommend healthcare providers consider percent body fat, not just weight or BMI, when deciding whom to screen for diabetes and prediabetes.

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