The Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) is urging the public to help prevent diabetes by gaining control of their weight, saying that nearly 70 percent of the people who suffer from the disease are overweight or obese, but less than 30 percent have tried to lose weight.
According to a follow-up survey conducted in 2002 and 2007 on a group of 6,600 people over the age of 15, the bureau said people with a large waistline (defined as more than 90cm for men, and more than 80cm for women) were about 4.5 times more likely to have high blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia.
Also, people who are overweight or obese — those who have a body mass index (BMI) above 24 — are four times more likely to contract hyperglycemia than people with a BMI between 18.5 and 23.9, the bureau said, adding that people who suffer from hyperglycemia also have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney diseases.
Bureau Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said that since both regular and abdominal obesity are risk factors for the development of hyperglycemia, a healthy weight helps prevent diabetes.
The bureau’s survey in 2009 found that 42 percent of people older than 18 are overweight or obese, and the percentage is even higher among diabetics older than 18, with 67.4 percent of men and 64.9 percent of women with the disease being overweight or obese.
However, less than 30 percent of obese or overweight diabetics had tried to lose weight, and 40 percent did not control their weight, the bureau said, adding that although more than 90 percent of the respondents said that they did control their blood sugar, more than 50 percent said they had not done any exercise in the past two weeks and less than 40 percent administered blood sugar tests by themselves.