JOURNAL ARTICLE

Association of high body mass index with low age of disease onset among Arab women with type 2 diabetes in a primary care clinic

Muhammad A Abdul-Ghani, Joseph Kher, Nejmi Abbas, Tamam Najami
Israel Medical Association Journal: IMAJ 2005, 7 (6): 360-3
15984376

BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes is usually associated with obesity, and both conditions are frequently detected in the Arab population in Israel. Recent studies have demonstrated that diabetes can be prevented by a change in lifestyle.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of diabetes in an Arab community, the contribution of obesity to diabetes development, and the therapeutic potential of a preventive program.

METHODS: Data were obtained from the medical files of diagnosed diabetes patients attending a primary care clinic in an Arab village in northern Israel.

RESULTS: Type 2 diabetes was diagnosed in 323 patients of whom 63% were women. The prevalence of diabetes below age 65 years was significantly higher among women than men. Diabetic women were younger than men at diagnosis (48.27 vs. 59.52 years respectively) and were found to have higher body mass index (34.35 vs. 30.04 respectively) at diagnosis. The age at diagnosis of diabetes was strongly correlated with BMI (r = 0.97, P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Women of Arab origin are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to men. Obesity in women seems to be associated with higher diabetes risk as well as earlier appearance of the disease. Therefore, they will have the disease for longer and, consequently, will be at higher risk for complications.

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