Climate change is associated with increasing type 2 diabetes cases

Climate change is associated with increasing type 2 diabetes cases

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How does climate change affect diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes arises when the body does not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. The disease is strongly related to diet and exercise, factors that can easily be influenced. However, researchers have now discovered that type 2 diabetes is also linked to climate change.

The latest study by the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that there is a link between type 2 diabetes and global climate change. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care".

Dangers from type 2 diabetes

When people have type 2 diabetes, the body can no longer control blood sugar levels. Persistently high blood sugar levels can result in a number of serious health problems, such as heart disease or strokes.

Rising temperatures lead to more cases of type 2 diabetes

Concerns about the effects of climate change on public health have so far focused on extreme weather events. However, the latest research suggests a general connection between climate change and cases of type 2 diabetes. The study found that between 1996 and 2009, as outdoor temperatures rose in the United States, the prevalence of diabetes increased. For the study, the researchers analyzed data on the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the United States, including the Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands areas. The data came from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Additional information on the mean annual temperature of the states was evaluated using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information. In addition, global data on blood sugar and obesity, which came from the online database of the Global Health Observatory of the World Health Organization, was also analyzed.

How does the rise in temperature affect the risk of diabetes?

The authors calculated that a one degree Celsius increase in ambient temperature in the United States alone could result in more than 100,000 new cases of diabetes each year. Further research into the effects of global warming on human health is therefore essential. Overall, calorie consumption and weight still play the strongest role, according to the researchers.

What were the results?

The authors found that for every one degree Celsius increase in outside temperature between 1996 and 2009 in the United States, the overall incidence of diabetes increased by approximately four percent per year. The global prevalence of glucose intolerance increased by 0.17 percent per degree Celsius temperature rise. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Lisanne L Blauw, N Ahmad Aziz, Martijn R Tannemaat, C Alexander Blauw, Anton J de Craen, Hanno Pijl, Patrick CN Rensen: Diabetes incidence and glucose intolerance prevalence increase with higher outdoor temperature, in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care

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