The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) yesterday said that nearly 70 percent of Taiwanese with diabetes who are older than 40 are overweight or obese and have a high body mass index (BMI), of whom 60 percent make no effort to control their weight.
Ministry of Health and Welfare data showed that 9,845 people died of complications arising from diabetes last year — an average of one death per hour — the administration said.
The HPA survey — undertaken from 2013 to last year — showed that diabetes had an average prevalence of 12.4 percent among adults, with an average of 14.4 percent for men and 10.3 percent for women.
HPA Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said that if people with diabetes are not proactive about controlling the progress of the disease, irreversible damage can occur to blood vessels or the nervous system, with complications arising from the disease including stroke, heart attack, kidney diseases, diabetic retinopathy or diabetic foot syndrome.
Based on the administration’s National Health Interview Survey in 2012, the percentage of people above 40 with a high BMI averaged 49 percent — with an average of 55.6 percent for men and 42.7 percent for women, she said.
However, Aging and Chronic Disease Control Division interim director Lin Li-ju (林莉茹) said the data also showed that for people above 40 with diabetes, the percentage considered overweight or obese is even higher — 66.5 percent for men and 66.1 percent for women,
“However, among this group, 51.3 percent of men and 58.9 percent of women reported not making any effort to control their weight,” she said.
For people with diabetes above 40 and a “normal” BMI, 13.2 percent of men and 49.8 percent of women had a big waistline — 90cm or more for men and 80cm or more for women — Chu said, adding that big waistlines might indicate the presence of too much abdominal fat, increasing the risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
She said the size of a person’s waistline is also an indication of the risks of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndromes including diabetes, so diabetic patients, especially women, should keep the size of their waist under control.
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