Type 2 Diabetes – The Main Risk Factors

graph showing increase in diabetes and obesity in Singapore

Singapore Obesity and Diabetes Rates, 1975 – 1995

If you do not have diabetes then you should be aware at least of the 4 main risk factors which could result in you developing the disease later in life.

  1. Being overweight
  2. Lack of Exercise
  3. Being Asian or African
  4. Family History

Type 2 diabetes is genetic, it is often present in several generation of one family. Type 1 diabetes does not appear to have any genetic causes.

Asians and Africans also have a much higher risk of developing diabetes, especially when they adopt western diets which contain far more processed foods and white bread than their traditional diets consist of.

A lack of exercise seems to also cause increased risk, even in those who are not overweight.


One of the main triggers however is obesity. Being very overweight tends to lead in increased risk.

A classic case study which shows all three factors here in action is in a study of fast food restaurants in Singapore.

Between 1975 and 1995 there was a rapid increase in fast food restaurants in Singapore.

During the same period there was also a rise in cases of type 2 diabetes. See the graph to the left.

Although excess sugar consumption in itself is not necessarily a risk factor, there is a definite correlation between fast food availability and diabetes. The reason seems to mostly be obesity though. It may be possibly to consume a lot of sugar but if you keep your weight down you will be OK. However, the general thought is that a diet high in sugar causes the pancreas to overwork in some cases and eventually start failing.

It is important to know the main risk factors. If you fall into any of these categories and notice some small changes in you energy levels or toilet habits then it may be a good idea to see a doctor. Request a glucose check, it should only take a few minutes for a doctor to take a reading which will indicate whether or not you have a problem.




About Medimise

JP studied Health Sciences with the Open University between 2008 and 2011 and attained a Certificate in Health Sciences. Focus areas included T2 diabetes, trauma and repair, pain management, alcoholism, COPD, and cancer diagnosis and treatment. JP has been working as lead editor of several health publications since 2006 and works full time in the health industry.

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