By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

More than 34 million Americans are obese, and more than 90% of this group has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In a recent analysis, researchers found 30% to 53% of new type 2 diabetes diagnoses were connected to obesity each year for 20 years.

Investigators scrutinized data from two studies, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), collected between 2000 and 2017. They included non‐Hispanic white, non‐Hispanic Black, and Mexican American participants who had not been diagnosed with diabetes at baseline. In MESA, obese participants were almost three times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. In NHANES, the obesity rate rose from 34% to 41%; those with type 2 diabetes were much more likely to be obese.

The researchers noted Black and Mexican American participants were most likely to be obese, and any participant who made less than $50,000 annually was most likely to be obese. Race/ethnicity, body mass index, age, and physical activity, along with other social determinants of health like household income, all are known risk factors for diabetes. The authors called for “tailored public health interventions to reduce obesity.”

Perhaps the simplest intervention is better nutrition. The December 2020 issue of Integrative Medicine Alert includes a detailed report on how eating more fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

As obesity persists and more complex procedures are approved for outpatient performance, ambulatory surgery centers are likely to start seeing additional obese patients present for these procedures. Operating on obese patients can require purchasing special equipment and carrying out additional screening protocols. A pair of articles in the upcoming April issue of Same-Day Surgery will help prepare outpatient surgery professionals to treat these patients, from preoperative risk screening to safe postoperative management.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, clinicians continue seeking any useful tools to assist them in the battle against the virus, especially to protect extra-vulnerable patients. For those with diabetes, investigators found metformin use before COVID-19 hospitalization in these patients was associated with a lower risk of death, as reported in the February 28 issue of Internal Medicine Alert.

“Several questions remain about the effects of metformin on COVID-19, including optimal dose and duration of metformin to provide protective effects, whether metformin treatment should be administered in the hospital, and whether metformin effects on COVID-19 can be generalized to all patients regardless of diabetes diagnosis,” author Austin Ulrich, PharmD, BCACP, wrote. “Still, practitioners may benefit from an awareness of the apparent protective effects of prior metformin use against COVID-19-related death for hospitalized patients with diabetes, despite a possible increase in symptoms related to COVID-19.”

For more on all this and related subjects, please read Clinical Cardiology Alert. For extra Relias Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.