In the study, people with diabetes who were of normal weight at the time of their diagnosis were about twice as likely to die from any cause over a 10- to 30-year period than those who were overweight or obese at diagnosis.
The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that could increase people’s risk of dying, such as age, blood pressure, blood fat levels and smoking status.
The results agree with the so-called obesity paradox: the idea that, despite being at a higher risk of many chronic conditions, obese people seem to be protected from dying of certain diseases, such as heart disease.
The researches aren’t sure why overweight and obese diabetes patients in the study fared better than normal-weight patients in terms of survival, and they said further research is needed.
It’s possible that normal-weight people who develop diabetes have genetic variations that put them at risk for other illnesses, too, said study researcher Mercedes Carnethon, an associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“Whatever that genetic change or mutation may be may also increase their likelihood of suffering mortality,” Carnethon said.
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