While many people believe having Type 2 diabetes and being overweight go hand in hand, not everyone with Type 2 diabetes is overweight. Type 2 is an autoimmune condition, and it’s not entirely understood why some people get it and some people don’t.
Likewise, it’s often assumed that people of average weight always have better health outcomes compared to overweight people. However, a new study finds that moderately overweight people with Type 2 diabetes live longer than both average weight people with Type 2 and obese people with Type 2.
The study surveyed 10,500 patients with Type 2 diabetes over 11 years, according to a recent Reuters article. It found moderately overweight people with Type 2 are 13% more likely to live longer than people with Type 2 diabetes whose weight was in the average or obese categories. The study, led by UK researchers, defined being overweight, and not obese, as a BMI of 25-29.9.
Being underweight with diabetes proved to be the most dangerous category of the three, showing a tripled likelihood of death in the 11-year period when compared with overweight people with diabetes. This was true even though there was an increased risk of heart attack and stroke among the overweight individuals. Researchers were not able to determine if being overweight with diabetes was a benefit, or simply the category for least risk among study participants.
The researchers speculate that overweight people with diabetes might live longer because the additional pounds could protect against bone diseases. However, such a benefit might disappear or be counteracted by other health risks for obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes.