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Obesity and Diabetes Within the Family

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A recent study cited in Medscape Medical News found the risk for type 2 diabetes could likely go beyond genetic susceptibility.  Family history of diabetes usually refers to biological relatives, and there is an underlying assumption that genetic programming is the most significant determinant of the disease.  But looking into the influence of socioenvironmental factors, a medical team from Montreal, Quebec investigated the possibility that individuals may have a similar type 2 diabetes risk to other family members because of shared dietary habits and/or physical-activity patterns.

In the study it was determined that type 2 diabetes risk increased by 20% to 25% in partners.  “If you diagnose diabetes in one spouse, consider evaluating the other,” explains the team’s leader Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta, MD.  “If possible, work with both members of the couple to achieve optimal diabetes management.  They may be able to support each other.”  The hope is that the new study could help prevention efforts and might also motivate families to work together toward diabetes prevention and treatment.

If one family member is in need of a lifestyle change, it is likely that all may be in need. It is important to encourage all members in the family to work together to develop healthy eating habits, and avoid snacks high in sugars and starches. Especially with the holidays coming, try basing family gatherings around activities rather than food, and encourage and support each other. Establish healthy habits to enjoy a healthy future with your family.

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