Even a Little Excess Weight May Spark Diabetes in Minorities

Even a Little Excess Weight May Spark Diabetes in Minorities

 November 15, 2019

A tablet with type 2 diabetes written on it.

One of the health problems that being overweight or obese can lead to is diabetes. While not everyone with diabetes is overweight, it is a major risk factor for the disease. However, researchers recently discovered that if your aging relative is a member of certain racial minority groups, even a little weight gain could increase their chances of getting diabetes.


Diabetes and Weight in Racial Minorities

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California wanted to know how weight and diabetes were linked in people of different races. To find out, they studied a racially diverse group of 4.9 million people. The average body mass index (BMI) of the participants was 29. A measurement of 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is obese.


The results of the study indicated that the rates of diabetes among individuals of a healthy, or “normal,” weight was higher in some minority races than one might expect. The rate of diabetes among participants of normal weight was as follows:


  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders: 18%
  • Blacks: 13.5%
  • Hispanics: 12.9%
  • Asians: 10.1%
  • American Indians/Alaskan Natives: 9.6%
  • Caucasians: 5%


Why diabetes is more prevalent in minorities of normal weight than in whites of normal weight is unknown. However, the researchers suggest that the study indicates minorities should be screened for diabetes regardless of their weight, especially as they age.


More Steps to Take to Prevent Diabetes

Although maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of diabetes prevention, given the results of this study, clearly there are other steps needed to prevent diabetes. Some steps your aging relative can take are:

-Physical Activity: Exercise is an excellent way to prevent diabetes because it helps the body to use up excess blood sugar. It also makes cells more sensitive to insulin.

-Stop Smoking: Smoking has been linked to a higher risk for diabetes by about 44 percent.

-More Fiber: Fiber helps to control blood sugar levels and can also help with weight loss because it is filling, which can lead to eating fewer calories.


Senior care can be beneficial to older adults with diabetes and those who are working to prevent the disease. A senior care provider can help with smoking cessation by encouraging the elder adult to keep working toward quitting. Senior care providers can also cook healthy meals that include more fiber as well as other beneficial ingredients. Finally, senior care providers can help with physical activity by inviting your aging relative to go for walks, join in on activities around the house, or by driving them to a gym or exercise class.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Pittsburgh, PA, please contact the caring staff at In-Home Quality Care today. Serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area since 1990! Call 412-421-5202