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Doctors have found that obesity is a bigger risk factor for diabetes among Chinese people than the insufficient secretion of insulin, which the medical community long considered the prime cause of the disease in Asia.
The finding, by a team of researchers from a number of Chinese medical centers, changed the stereotypical view that diabetes in China, a country with a high rate of the disease, was only related to the insufficient secretion of insulin, a common congenital deficiency in Asia, doctors said.
It provided an important health reminder that weight control can reduce the prevalence of diabetes, they said.
Obesity can lead to insulin resistance, the culprit for most diabetes cases in countries such as the United States and Germany where the intake of high-calorie food is common and the proportion of the population that is overweight is relatively high, experts explained.
Insulin resistance happens when cells in the human body do not respond properly to the hormone insulin, which allows cells to take in glucose to be used as fuel, and glucose is more likely to build up in blood, leading to high blood sugar levels.
Statistics show the obesity rate among adults in the US rose from 30.5 percent in 1999 to 37.7 percent in 2014, while the incidence rate of diabetes among US adults rose from 10.3 percent in 2003 to 13.2 percent in 2014.
In comparison, the obesity rate among adults in Japan has remained at around 3.5 percent, and the incidence of diabetes in that country has been stable at around 8 percent.
The research, led by Ruijin Hospital Affiliated with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University"s School of Medicine, showed that the high prevalence of diabetes in China comes from a combination of the main risk factors in the US and Japan.
"A rising trend of fast food intake among Chinese people has led to a higher obesity rate," said Wang Weiqing, a leading researcher on the team.
The team"s research found that 24.4 percent of patients had diabetes due to insulin resistance, 12.4 percent had the disease because of the insufficient secretion of insulin, and the rest were diabetic due to a combination of the two factors.
A paper about their research since 2010 was published on the website of the medical journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology on Tuesday.
The prevalence of diabetes in China has increased dramatically over the past four decades. It soared from 0.67 percent among adults in 1980 to 10.9 percent in 2013, official data showed, with the number of patients reaching 116 million.personalize your own braceletsilicone wristband usb flash drivewoven wristbands for eventsfundraising rubber wristbandsrubber bracelets