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JAMA Patient Page
june 18, 2008

Weight and Diabetes

JAMA. 2008;299(23):2814. doi:10.1001/jama.299.23.2814

Diabetes is a common disorder in which the body has difficulty controlling levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Normally, the hormone insulin made by the pancreas (an organ in the abdomen) regulates blood sugar levels. The bodies of individuals with type 1 diabetes, which usually starts by the early teen years, do not make enough insulin to control blood sugar, so they must receive insulin injections. The bodies of persons with type 2 diabetes are resistant to the effects of insulin. Type 2 diabetes, also known as "adult-onset" diabetes, usually develops in adulthood but can also occur in overweight children. Family history of diabetes and excess weight, especially weight carried around the middle, are strong risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Losing weight greatly reduces your chances for type 2 diabetes and can help bring your blood sugar under control if you already have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with diet, exercise, and oral prescription medications but may require insulin shots.