June 9 (UPI) -- A new study has found that older people with diabetes who are overweight or obese may have a lower risk of dying prematurely than normal weight people.
Researchers at Capital Medical University in Beijing analyzed 20 studies that include 250,016 participants with diabetes, finding a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality in overweight patients when compared to normal weight patients.
The findings were only observed in elderly patients -- not in younger ones.
Researchers examined the phenomenon known as the obesity paradox, which is a lower risk of mortality for overweight or obese patients based on body mass index reported in several populations of patients with cardiovascular disease, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
However, the obesity paradox has not been studied to include patients with diabetes.
So researchers set out to determine if the obesity paradox applies to diabetic patients who are obese or overweight.
Epidemiological studies have found that roughly 85 percent of type 2 diabetes patients are overweight or obese, and the negative effects of obesity on metabolism and insulin resistance are well documented.
Conversely, weight loss has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic control for overweight or obese patients. Weight loss is the recommended treatment for type 2 diabetes.
Researchers collected data from the OVID/MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases for their study, finding that patients with type 2 diabetes who were overweight had an 18 percent reduced risk of early death compared to normal weight patients.
However, the beneficial prognostic impact of obesity was only seen in elderly patients and that age discrepancy was not found among overweight patients.
The study was published June 8 in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.