Does Obesity Cause Diabetes?

Although it does not directly cause type 2 diabetes, obesity is a significant risk factor. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight loss may reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Weight loss may be aided by GLP-1 drugs.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2018, there were 42.5% of obese adults and 31% of overweight adults in the United States.
Major risk factors for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, which 1 in 3 people in the US may already have, include being overweight or obese. Weight can affect diabetes treatment in general and make it more challenging to maintain target blood sugar levels.
Obesity does not directly cause type 2 diabetes, even if it may contribute to the development of the disease in some individuals.
This article will go into greater detail regarding the connection between type 2 diabetes and obesity as well as what is now known about the general causes of diabetes. Whether you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing it, we'll also give you some advice on how to manage your weight and your health.

How is obesity related to diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are linked in several ways.
Insulin resistance, which occurs when your body cannot effectively handle the hormone insulin, which controls your blood sugar (blood glucose) levels, is a common precursor to type 2 diabetes. This insulin resistance frequently leads to the onset of prediabetes first. More than 80% of individuals with prediabetes are completely unaware of their condition.
One of the most significant risk factors for the emergence of metabolic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, is obesity. This is because obesity makes it more challenging for your body to use insulin to naturally manage your blood sugar. Obesity desensitises your body to the action of insulin.
This does not imply that type 2 diabetes directly causes all occurrences of obesity or that having the disease raises your risk of becoming obese.
However, type 2 diabetes is more likely to develop if you are obese. According to research, 80–90% of people with type 2 diabetes are also overweight or obese.


Is obesity related to type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes does not develop in a way that is related to obesity.
Unlike type 2, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that stops your immune system's capacity to make insulin by attacking and destroying your beta cells.
Insulin resistance can gradually develop in type 1 diabetics, particularly if they are also overweight or obese. In actuality, adults who are overweight or obese have the same rates of type 1 diabetes as the overall population.
Food has a significant role in managing type 1 diabetes, although it neither causes nor contributes to the disease's onset. However, type 2 diabetes risk may be increased by dietary and lifestyle choices.

How do you prevent obesity and diabetes?

The three most crucial approaches to lowering your risk of obesity entail altering or keeping up with particular lifestyle practices:
  • getting regular physical activity
  • maintaining a healthy eating pattern
  • limiting the time you spend sitting
Your risk of type 2 diabetes will naturally decrease as you lower your risk of obesity.
The National Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) is suggested by the CDC as the most effective method for reversing prediabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes. The programme's goal is to assist participants in losing 5–7% of their body weight by encouraging them to adopt dietary adjustments and improve their physical activity levels in a safe atmosphere.

Will shedding pounds help you lower your risk of developing diabetes?

After three years on the NDPP, participants' risk of developing type 2 diabetes was shown to have decreased by 58%, according to a research analysis of the programme's effects. Even more of a decline was seen among people over 60: 71% in the same time frame.
Three groups of research participants were created: a control group, a group that made lifestyle adjustments, and a group that took the medicine metformin. To decrease 7% of their body weight, the lifestyle modification group made dietary and exercise changes, set a weekly activity target of 150 minutes, and focused on eating less fat and fewer calories.
During the trial, around 5% of participants in the lifestyle change group and 11% of those in the placebo group had diabetes each year.
According to this study, long-term diet and exercise are even more beneficial at preventing type 2 diabetes than prescription medications like metformin.
Every U.S. state has NDPP programmes that have received CDC certification. The majority of Medicare and Medicaid programmes, as well as most other health insurance policies, will cover the programme's expenses.

Can GLP-1 medications help manage obesity and diabetes?

Drugs that act as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists were created to assist those with type 2 diabetes in controlling their blood sugar levels. These drugs aid in lowering A1C and blood sugar levels.
Nevertheless, a lot of people receive these prescriptions "off-label," for purposes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not endorsed. They employ GLP-1 drugs to induce weight loss and boost insulin sensitivity instead of managing type 2 diabetes with them.
These medicines can be taken orally or intravenously (either once a day or once a week). Typical GLP-1 drugs include:
  • Trulicity
  • Byetta
  • Ozempic
  • Bydureon
  • Rybelsus
  • Victoza
Wegovy and Saxenda are two GLP-1 drugs that have received FDA approval exclusively for weight loss.
According to studies, taking GLP-1 medications can result in a total weight loss of 10.5-8 pounds. But not all medical professionals will issue off-label prescriptions, and obtaining these drugs without a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can be challenging.


Type 2 diabetes is not always brought on by obesity, although it is a risk factor for getting this metabolic disorder. This is because persistent low-level inflammation, which can promote insulin resistance, frequently develops in obese or overweight individuals.
The best approaches to avoiding obesity and type 2 diabetes are to increase your daily physical activity, eat a nutritious, balanced diet, and lose weight. Medication that acts as a GLP-1 receptor agonist may also be an option for controlling your blood sugar and weight.