BMI and disease

People with a very high body mass index (BMI) are defined as obese.

Obesity leads to high blood pressure and the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, which leads to cardiovascular disease. It also increases the likelihood of developing diabetes, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Being obese - with deposits of lipids in the abdomen - increases blood pressure beyond normal levels and increases levels of blood lipids.

Type 2 diabetes

Body fat also affects the body's ability to use insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is where the body's cells lose their sensitivity to insulin - they no longer respond, or respond less effectively, to the insulin that's produced. This causes glucose levels in the blood to rise to dangerous levels.

Obesity accounts for 80 to 85 per cent of the risk of type 2 diabetes. Rising obesity is linked with 'western diet' - a diet that includes energy-rich 'fast foods' and an inactive lifestyle. The bar charts show the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes associated with people's body mass index (BMI).

The bar charts show the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes associated with people’s Body Mass Index.

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but it may be possible to control it by diet and exercise. The risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes can be reduced by eating a balanced diet, with unrefined, unprocessed, 'whole foods', and taking regular exercise.

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