Image for Body Mass Index and Diabetes Risk
Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
January 2012

Body Mass Index and Diabetes Risk

A new study suggests that diabetes risk may increase with the number of excess years with a high body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a tool for indicating weight status in adults. It is a measure of weight for height. For adults over 20 years old, BMI falls into one of these categories: Below 18.5 (underweight), 18.5-24.9 (normal), 25.0-29.9 (overweight) and 30.0 and above (obese).

Researchers examined data from 8157 adolescents and young adults 14-21 years-old at the start of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Participants reported height, weight and diabetes status from 1981 through 2006. The authors calculated "excess BMI-years" by subtracting the actual BMI from the reference BMI, which is 25.0 for adults or the 85th percentile for adolescents. The excess BMI were combined for each study year.

Authors found that excess BMI-years were associated with an increased risk of diabetes. As an example, authors reported that 40 year-old white men with 200 excess BMI-years were 2.94 more likely to develop diabetes than men of the same age and race with 100 excess BMI-years.

Additional research is warranted in this area.

For more information about BMI, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Lee JM, Gebremariam A, Vijan S, et al. Excess body mass index-years, a measure of degree and duration of excess weight, and risk for incident diabetes. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Jan;166(1):42-8.View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright 2013 Natural Standard Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited.