President's Rx: Diabetes and Body Fat Percentage

Morethan two in three adults in the U.S. are considered to be overweight or obese,according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This week, Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell tells us howlosing body fat can reduce your risk of developing Type 2diabetes.

It's pretty common knowledgethat Type 2 diabetes and being overweight or obese often go hand in hand. However,researchers have also found a link between a person's body fat percentage andhis or her risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Bodymass index (BMI) is an estimate of a person's body fat levels, based on heightand weight. An adult who has a BMI between 25and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher isconsidered obese.

Althoughexcess weight may trigger changes in the body's metabolism and possible insulinresistance, not everyone who has Type 2 diabetes is overweight or obese, andnot everyone who is overweight or obese will develop Type 2 diabetes, accordingto a recent study published in the journal of PLoS Medicine.

In additionto genetic factors, the type of fat in a person's body matters, too. For example,people who have less brown fat (considered a good type of fat) and carry moreweight around the middle are generally more likely to get Type 2 diabetes.

If you're overweightor obese, start making small changes in your diet. Even a small amount ofweight loss (10 percent of your body weight) will significantly reduce yourrisk of Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.