Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, but it turns out that these heavier patients may have an advantage: people who are overweight when they are diagnosed with diabetes live longer than their thinner peers.
The so-called obesity paradox, in which being overweight appears to be protective against early death, has been seen before in heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
But, says study author Mercedes Carnethon, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, that doesn’t necessarily mean that gaining excess weight is a healthy strategy; rather, it may be that people who are thin when they develop diabetes are already be vulnerable to worse health. “We hypothesized that their diabetes may be different,” she says. “They may have developed diabetes for reasons unrelated to obesity.