Monday, 11 July 2016

The future burden of type 2 diabetes looms large

A new collaborative study estimating the risk of type-2 diabetes has found that obese-years is a robust predictor of risk in developing diabetes than the severity of body weight or the duration of obesity alone.

Approximately 1.12 billion individuals globally will become obese in the next decade and it has been strongly associated with an increased risk of type-2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. In this study, researchers were concerned with capturing the total adverse effect obesity had on estimating the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

“The previous analysis of the burden of diseases relies mostly on the severity of obesity, or the duration of obesity only. A combination of both the severity and duration of obesity into a single measurement of obese-years has, until now - been ignored,” said SPHPM’s Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Asnawi Abdullah.

This new approach to calculating the total adverse effect of obesity involved combining the severity of obesity and the duration of obesity into a single variable, known as ‘obese-years’. The researchers were able to validate the obese-years construct to estimate the risk of type-2 diabetes in a large contemporary cohort study of participants from the Framingham Offspring Study (FOS).

The findings revealed that the incidence rates of type-2 diabetes increased significantly as the number of obese-years increased and this was observed similarly in both men and women.

“We believe that the cumulative risk for a person with mild obesity for a long period of time is considered similar to that for more severe obesity for a shorter period of time, and obese-years approach was developed based on this assumption.” said Asnawi Abdullah.

This approach is comparable to smoking-related studies in which the total adverse effects of the combined quantity of cigarettes or packs smoked per day and the duration of smoking, expressed as cigarette-years or pack-years has been well recognised.

Researchers have cautioned that the future burden of diabetes may be underestimated if the adverse effect of obesity is not totally captured, and this new method may provide a more robust method of predicting future risk in this burgeoning population.

The study was conducted by Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Asnawi Abdullah, Professor Johannes Stoelwinder and Professor Rory Wolf from SPHPM as well as collaborating authors Dr Fauzi Ali Amin and Farida Hanum (University Muhammadiyah Aceh), Research Fellow Stephanie Tanamas (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), Dr Evelyn Wong and Professor Anna Peeters (Deakin University).

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