An increasing number of American adults diagnosed with diabetes are obese, making it more likely they will suffer heart disease, vision damage and other health problems, U.S. officials said Thursday.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 54.8 percent of diabetics over the age of 19 were obese between 1999 and 2002. That compared with 45.7 percent in the same age group between 1988 and 1994.
When the category was expanded to include diabetics who were obese or overweight, the percentage surged to 85.2 percent in 1999-2002 compared with 78.5 percent in the earlier period.
A person was considered overweight if their body mass index — the most commonly used method for calculating if a person weighs too much — was 25 to 29. Anyone with a body mass index of 30 or greater was categorized as obese.
The CDC, which has been warning about an obesity epidemic in the nation, urged diabetics to consult their health-care providers for advice on healthy eating, exercise and other weight control measures.
"They should work with their doctors to develop a plan to maintain their weight or achieve a healthier weight," said Sharon Saydah, a CDC epidemiologist and one of the study's researchers.
Obesity, which increases the likelihood of heart disease, some types of cancer and arthritis, has become twice as common in the nation since 1980. About 69 million people are obese or severely obese, according to the American Obesity Association.
The CDC study found that black diabetics had the highest rate of obesity -- 63 percent -- between 1999 and 2002.