Diabetes a Greater Risk for Death Than Obesity

Being overweight may not always predict poor health outcomes, study finds

MONDAY, Sept. 25, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that diabetes -- not obesity -- puts people at risk of developing critical illness and dying early.

In a study published in the Sept. 24 issue of Critical Care, researchers from the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington and Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta analyzed data from 15,408 people between the ages of 44 and 66.

The data included the participants' body-mass index, presence of diabetes, and history of critical illness and death within three years.

The researchers found that in the absence of diabetes, obese people do not have a greater risk of suffering from acute organ failure or dying from acute organ failure than people who are not obese.

On the other hand, people with diabetes -- regardless of their BMI -- are three times more likely to become critically ill from acute organ failure and three times more likely to die from any cause than people without diabetes.

The relationship between obesity, diabetes and critical illness is complex, and obesity by itself may not predict poor health outcomes, the study authors concluded.

More information

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about diabetes.

SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, Sept. 24, 2006
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