The Link Between Obesity & Diabetes

Obesity and diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent health conditions affecting adults in the U.S. and requires constant management — but what exactly causes it? While some types of diabetes — such as type 1 or gestational diabetes — result from genetics, pregnancy, or hormonal imbalances, other forms of diabetes can be caused by more controllable factors.

In fact, one of the most common conditions linked to diabetes is obesity, which is defined as an excessive accumulation of fat that presents itself as a health risk. According to the WHO, nearly 650 million adults worldwide are considered obese as of 2016, and we can only expect that this number has increased in the past years.

With obesity being such a common affliction in North America, it's important to understand how it can affect your health. If you've ever wondered, "Does obesity cause diabetes?" or "How does obesity cause diabetes?" you've come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about how diabetes and obesity are inexorably linked.

Why type 2 diabetes develops — the causes behind the disease

Of all the various types of diabetes, type 2 is one of the most common in America. Why? Because certain unhealthy lifestyle choices heavily influence the development of type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes risk

Factors contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes

  1. Genetics: A family history of diabetes can increase the likelihood of developing the disease. Certain genes may also make individuals more susceptible.
  2. Unhealthy Diet: Consuming a diet high in processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats and low in fiber and nutrients can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance.
  3. Physical Inactivity: Leading a sedentary lifestyle, with little to no physical activity, can cause weight gain and reduce the body's ability to use insulin effectively.
  4. Obesity: Being overweight, especially when the fat is stored around the abdomen, is strongly linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Hormonal Conditions: Certain conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or disorders that affect the hormones produced by the adrenal and pituitary glands, can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  6. Metabolic Syndrome: This is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  7. Gestational Diabetes: Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  8. Age and Race: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases as people age, and in the United States, certain racial and ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, are at a higher risk.
  9. Stress and Sleep: Chronic stress and inadequate sleep can affect the body's insulin sensitivity and lead to weight gain, increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes.
  10. Medications: Certain medications like steroids can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  11. Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.


Preventing or managing type 2 diabetes often involves lifestyle modifications such as adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep. It's also essential to monitor blood sugar levels and follow any medical interventions as a healthcare professional advises.

 It is important to recognize that while lifestyle factors are significant contributors, genetics and other factors out of an individual's control can also play a role. Therefore, a combination of education, awareness, support, and access to healthcare is essential in addressing the widespread issue of type 2 diabetes.

Obesity and diabetes: What is the risk and how are they connected?

Being overweight isn't the only factor contributing to diabetes — but it is one of the most prominent. A 2017 study discusses how diabetes diagnoses are more likely to occur in obese individuals. An earlier article indicates that approximately half of all diabetic individuals are obese, and many more are overweight.

There seems to be a relationship between obesity and diabetes, but why does obesity cause diabetes? It all has to do with glucose.

Many foods we consume contain glucose or sugar, which our bodies use for energy. While a small amount of glucose is used right away by the muscles, most of the glucose we eat is stored in the liver for later use — at least, that is what is supposed to happen.

When excess fat builds up in the body, it may be more difficult to use insulin and store glucose in the liver. And because your body can't properly store glucose, your pancreas produces more insulin to keep up with the excess glucose in your bloodstream. As a result, the pancreas can become overworked and less effective over time. Adding additional fat on top of these problems can significantly exacerbate your condition.

Being obese can also make it more difficult to exercise and sleep, increasing your risk for diabetes and other health conditions. If you're worried about your weight or health or have developed diabetes, speaking to your healthcare provider is best.

Other dangers associated with obesity

Does obesity cause diabetes? It can certainly contribute. And type 2 diabetes isn't the only danger you need to be aware of if you are overweight or obese. Obesity can also lead to other serious health conditions, including:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Breathing problems
  • Certain types of cancers
  • Strokes
  • Neuropathy
  • Heart, liver, kidney, and gallbladder diseases
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Emotional/mental health conditions

What you can do to decrease the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes

Not everyone overweight or obese will develop diabetes, but excess weight greatly increases your chances of eventually living with diabetes. So, what can you do to help prevent that from happening? Several controllable factors may increase your risk of obesity and diabetes. Here's what they are and what you can do to avoid them.

  • An unhealthy diet/overeating — Consuming more than the necessary calories daily or eating nutritionally unhealthy foods can increase your risk of obesity. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet following the guidelines in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This includes eating plenty of lean proteins, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and healthy dairy products — all in the proper portion sizes.
  • A sedentary lifestyle — Limited physical activity can increase your risk of developing obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other health concerns. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults aim for 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week. On top of that, you should also be physically active throughout your day whenever possible.
  • Lack of sleep — The average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep each day. Getting enough sleep helps your body stay healthy, improves brain function, reduces the risk of certain diseases, and plays a key role in keeping weight down. You can help improve your sleep quality by avoiding electronics before bedtime, employing a relaxing nighttime routine, and getting enough exercise during the day.

Above all, one of the best things that you can do to manage both obesity and type 2 diabetes is to lose weight. But how much? Studies have shown that losing as little as 5% to 10% of your total weight can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by over 50%!

Many people achieve weight loss by making the lifestyle changes mentioned above. However, some people may find it more difficult to control excess weight. If that's the case for you, your doctor may recommend certain medications or even bariatric surgery.

Obesity reasons

Managing pain caused by excess weight

Obesity and diabetes are often associated with painful symptoms and health conditions, not the least of which is neuropathy. This potentially life-altering condition usually affects the hands and feet.

If you are obese or have been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to protect yourself from the effects of neuropathy. One of the best ways to do this is with a pair of non-binding diabetic socks or compression socks

 Great diabetic socks can help you:

  • Protect your feet from injury and infection
  • Support healthy blood flow
  • Keep your feet dry and warm
  • Reduce or eliminate bacteria that may cause odors or infection
  • Keep your feet cushioned and comfortable throughout the day

Even if you haven't been diagnosed with diabetes, a pair of high-quality diabetic socks or compression socks can help relieve pain, decrease swelling in the legs, and make your life more manageable and enjoyable.

Find fun, fancy socks online at Viasox

Looking for a quality pair of comfortable and fashionable diabetic socks? We've got you covered! Here at Viasox, we're proud to offer America's first — and best — fancy diabetic socks! What makes our brand so great? Our socks are:

  • Made from high-quality products like cotton, polyester, and bamboo.
  • Specifically designed to keep your feet safe, healthy, and comfortable.
  • Super-stretchy with the ability to accommodate calf circumferences of 30+ inches.
  • Ideal for anyone from people with diabetic foot problems to athletes with perpetually sweaty feet — and everyone in between!

Best of all? We offer one of the largest selections of diabetic socks online. So, you'll find it here whether you're looking for an ankle-length option in traditional colors or want a brightly patterned knee-length number to dress up your wardrobe.

Shop online with us today and discover the difference that a great pair of socks can make. Need help finding a certain product or complete your order? We're always happy to lend a hand! Contact us today via our contact form, and we'll get back to you in no time.

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    Viasox are the worlds’ first special diabetic socks designed with two things in mind - fashion and practicality. We aim to provide you with high-quality socks that aren’t dowdy and boring like most diabetic socks currently on the market.

    Our socks come in a great variety of colors and patterns on the calf which really bring out your personality and make it easier to complete your outfit! Show off your fancy socks knowing that they’re made especially for you and say goodbye to the boring old black & white socks!

    Our goal is to give everyone the ability to live comfortably by promoting diabetes care, acceptance, and support.