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Diabetic and over age 65? You can still add some weight to cut death risk

IANS Apr 01, 2024

For those suffering from type 2 diabetes, keeping an ideal body weight is always recommended. However, according to new research, those aged over 65 can remain "moderately overweight" to minimise their risk of dying from any cardiovascular disease.

The findings, based on health data from the UK Biobank, indicate that for adults aged 65 years or younger, maintaining a body mass index (BMI) within the normal range of 23-25 was associated with the lowest risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

But for those over 65 years old, being moderately overweight with a BMI of 26-28 had the lowest risk.

“Importantly, we demonstrate that optimal BMI for people with type 2 diabetes varies by age, independent of traditional cardio-metabolic risk factors,” said Dr Shaoyong Xu from Xiangyang Central Hospital, Affiliated Hospital of Hubei University of Arts and Science, Xiangyang, China.

The findings suggest that for older individuals who are moderately overweight but not obese, maintaining rather than losing weight may be a more practical way of reducing their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, Xu added.

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, particularly for people with type 2 diabetes who are predisposed to cardiovascular disease and death.

To reach the conclusion, researchers explored the age differences in the association between BMI and risk of cardiovascular death in 22,874 UK Biobank participants with a previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The average age of all the participants was 59 years, and around 59 per cent were women.

Researchers analysed data in two age groups -- the elderly (over 65 years) and the middle-aged (age 65 years or younger).

The authors say that in the future, measures of central obesity, such as waist circumference, would be used to further refine the risk.

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