Obesity is a chronic health problem that is often progressive and difficult to treat. An estimated 80% to 90% of people with type 2 diabetes have overweight or obesity. Obesity is also becoming more prevalent in people with type 1 diabetes; one study reported a sevenfold increase in the last 20 years. In addition, intensive insulin therapy and some antihyperglycemic medications are associated with weight gain which, in turn, leads to obesity-related comorbid conditions.
The relationship between increasing body fat accumulation and adverse health outcomes exists throughout the range of overweight and obesity in men and women of all age groups. Weight loss has been shown to improve glycemic control by increasing insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake and diminishing hepatic glucose output.
Ways to measure healthy weight
Body Mass Index (BMI) compares a person’s weight to their height. For most adults aged 18 to 65, a BMI of 25 to 29.9* is overweight and, 30 or more is obese.
Waist Circumference (WC) is the measurement around the waist. Too much fat around the waist is linked to health risks. WC goals differ depending on ethnic background and gender. In general, a healthy WC for men is less than 40 in (102 cm) and for women it is less than 35 in (88 cm).
If overweight, losing 5 to 10% of your current body weight is a healthy goal. For someone who is 200 lbs (90 kg), 5 to 10% is 10 to 20 lbs (4.5 to 9 kg).
For more information on measuring and interpreting your BMI and WC, visit this Health Canada guide.
Note: these assessments should not be used on pregnant or lactating women, very muscular adults, adults with very lean build. BMI values are age and gender independent, and may not be correct for all ethnic populations.
The benefits of healthy weight
A healthy weight can:
- help you prevent or manage diabetes
- improve blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipids (fats)
- reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease and stroke
- improve general well-being and energy levels
Healthy eating and physical activity are key factors in managing weight. Many things can make managing weight a challenge including stress, some medical conditions and certain medications.
Who can help me?
There are many health-care providers (e.g. dietitian, doctor, diabetes educator, pharmacist) who can help you. Check with them before taking any weight loss medications, supplements, starting intense exercise or changing your diet.
Believe in yourself
Each person’s body has its own size and shape. Feel good about yourself and the behaviour changes you make. Remember to think long-term, but make changes gradually.
Weight management resources
Use the following resources to help monitor, achieve and maintain a healthy weight while living with diabetes.
Contact us for support
For more information, support and to help you find diabetes services in your area.
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