Obesity Is A Big Contributor To Diabetes Boom

More than 20 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes; most are overweight or obese. (Courtesy of Atlanta Black Star)
More than 20 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes; most are overweight or obese.  (Photo courtesy of Atlanta Black Star)
More than 20 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes; most are overweight or obese. (Photo courtesy of Atlanta Black Star)

(TIME) – Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the U.S., and there’s a single biggest culprit to blame, found a new study released today in Annals of Internal Medicine: our ever-increasing body mass index, or BMI.

The team analyzed data from five National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys of a nationally representative U.S. sample of 23,932 people. They found that the prevalence of diabetes almost doubled from 1976 to 1980 as well as from 1999 to 2004.

BMI explained most of the increase in the prevalence of diabetes, even more than other big factors like race, ethnicity and age, lead study author Andy Menke, an epidemiologist with Social & Scientific Systems, wrote in an email to TIME.

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