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Okt 2011: Obese mannen meer diabetes dan vrouwen

Leeftijd, familiale aanleg [1], hoge bloeddruk [2] en roken [3] worden vaak genoemd als risicofactoren voor diabetes. Echter, overgewicht en een zittende leefstijl [4, 5] zijn ook belangrijk. Recent onderzoek laat zien dat mannen helaas minder overgewicht nodig hebben om hun risico's te verhogen dan vrouwen [6]. Waarschijnlijk ligt dat aan de verdeling van het vet. Bij mannen zit dat namelijk meer rond de organen, wat meer gezondheidsrisico's met zich meebrengt.



Age, family history or genetics [1], high blood pressure [2], and tobacco consumption [3] are very often stated as main risk factors for developing diabetes. However, many recent studies have shown that those at highest risk for the disease are those who are obese or overweight with sedentary lifestyle [4, 5].


Increased Body Mass Index (BMI) is a decisive factor for getting diabetes both in men and women. However, a recent study conducted by clinical researchers in Scotland found out that men develop type 2 diabetes even with a lower BMI (31.8), as compared to women (33.7) [6].One of theories why this may happen is the pattern of how fats are distributed in men are different, compared to women. Men tend to have fats deposited mainly in the abdominal region and liver, and less in subcutaneous layers of the skin which put them in higher risk for diabetes. Although the study has certain limitations (excluded lifestyle factors, dietary patterns or alcohol consumption) the conclusion - increased BMI leads to type 2 diabetes, especially in young men – gives an insight into what can be done in order to prevent the disease. It is important that both men and woman manage the risk of diabetes in the same way – by eating balanced diet and getting regular exercise.


Main text:

Being overweight and obese is one of major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. But a new European study suggests that men are biologically more susceptible. They develop the condition after less weight gain than women [6].


The aim of the study, recently published in journal Diabetologia, was to examine the associations between gender, age and BMI at the time of development of type 2 diabetes. Beside this, the team of Scottish researchers wanted also to evaluate if men are diagnosed with diabetes at lower BMI than women of similar age. For their study, the authors have analyzed data from 51,920 men and 43,137 women living in Scotland who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Comparison of BMI rates, measured within one year of diagnosis and taking into account age status, has shown that the prevalence of diabetes in middle-aged men exceeds that of women. They found that the mean BMI at diabetes diagnosis was 33.69 in the women but only 31.83 in the men. This difference was even bigger in younger age groups indicating that young men are most prone to the disease. The researchers have proposed the theory on why this may be the case, and have said that men tend to store fat around their internal organs rather than under the skin as women do.


Although the study has certain limitations - such as limited range of risk factors, the observation that men are diagnosed with the disease at a lower BMI than women of the same age is important. It is certainly worthy of further exploration and triggers new studies which will include other risk factors, ethnical groups etc.

This study does not mean that overweight and obese women are safe from type 2 diabetes. The finding that all studies agree on is that all people should keep their weight within normal ranges, by eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.


By: Svetlana Obradovic and Luuk Simons


[1] Scott, L.J., K.L. Mohlke, L. Bonnycastle et.al. (2007). A genome wide association study of type 2 diabetes in Finns detects multiple susceptibility variants. Science 316. pp. 1341-1345.



[2] Bouhanick, B., S. Laboureau-Soares Barbosa and M. Marre (2000). Hypertension and diabetes. Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss 93, 11. pp. 1429-1434.



[3] Radzeviciene, L. and R. Ostrauskas (2009). Smoking habits and the risk of type 2 diabetes: A case-control study. Diabetes and Metabolism 35,3. pp. 192-197.



[4] Hu, F.B., T.Y. Li, G.A. Colditzet. al. (2003). Television Watching and Other Sedentary Behaviors in Relation to Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women



[5] Parvez, H.,, K. Bisher and E.N. Meguid (2007). Obesity and Diabetes in the Developing World – A Growing Challenge.The New England Journal of Medicine 356. pp. 213-215.



[6] Logue, J.,J. Walker, H.M. Colhounet al. (2011). Do men develop type 2 diabetes at lower body mass indices than women? Diabetologia PMID: 21959958


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