2 Overlooked Risk Factor of Diabetes

risk factor

More than ever, people are getting fatter and fatter because of the foods that are available to them. They tend to indulge themselves in overeating. Yes, it is true that there is nothing is wrong with that because they are paying for their food. Well, actually, they are really going to pay for it since they would get fatter and fatter if they continue that up. The problem don’t stop there as things would get worse as they would be prone to a lot of diseases, which include diabetes.

Does this mean that diabetes is just a disease of the obese? Unfortunately, being skinny is not always a protection against diabetes. Many who do not fit the typical physical description of a diabetic-overweight and older-can get diabetes. Although increased body weight is a risk factor for diabetes, it is not the only risk factor. Lean people can be at risk for type 2 diabetes for other reasons not directly related to body weight. This risk, however, is low especially in comparison to obese individuals.

In the genes

Aside for the usual risk factor of diabetes, which are old age and excess weight, other factor that plays to it is the genes. It is true that this disease is inherited. If your parent has diabetes then there would be high chance that you would get it too. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history than type 1 diabetes, especially in twins. If one twin has type 2, the other twin’s risk is up to 75%. A research study published in PloS Genetics found that most lean cases are people with a strong genetic predisposition for type 2 diabetes. Even a family history of heart disease can increase a person’s risk for diabetes.


It’s important to note that in the field of health and nutrition, the word “skinny” does not always mean “healthy”. Even a relatively skinny person can have a poor diet and low activity levels. Unhealthy lifestyle choices can increase the risk for diabetes. Low physical activity encourages insulin resistance. Coupled with a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to increased body fat, especially a dangerous type of body fat called visceral fat. This type of fat is not the fat found under the skin. This is the fat that surrounds internal organs, especially around the waist area.

Such poor lifestyle choices increase the risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels in the blood. All of these health problems can encourage the development of type 2 diabetes as well.

Smoking can also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, regardless of your body weight. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, a heavy smoker (16-25 cigarettes/day) has a risk for type 2 diabetes three times greater than that of a non-smoker.