Men's health * Healthy living * Weight loss

Middle-aged men at risk of diabetes

Middle-aged men at risk of diabetes Men twice as likely as women to develop the disease

Middle-aged men are more than twice as likely to have diabetes as middle-aged women, according to a new report by Diabetes UK.

The report found that in the 35 to 54 age group, 2.4% (92,960) of men have diabetes compared to 1.2% (47,000) of women. These are figures for England only.

A similar pattern was reported for the 45 to 54 age group, where 6% (197,050) of men have diabetes compared to 3.6% (120, 670) of women.

The figures also show that for the 35 to 44 group, cases have risen four times faster in men than in women over the last 12 years.

An estimated 2.5m people suffer from diabetes in the UK. Of these, 90% have Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity levels. Although it can have genetic causes, many people are overweight when diagnosed with diabetes, suggesting that lifestyle factors are more important in most cases.

"It's very worrying that men of this age are developing diabetes at such an alarming rate compared to their female counterparts. Most of them will have Type 2 diabetes which is strongly linked to lifestyle and can be prevented in many cases by eating a healthy balanced diet and doing regular physical activity, " said Simon O'Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy at Diabetes UK.

"Women should not rest on their laurels, either. They may tend to develop the condition later in life, but the risk of death from heart disease associated with Type 2 diabetes is about 50% greater in women than it is in men - not a statistic to be ignored," he added.

Serious complications due to diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation are more likely the later someone is diagnosed. Worryingly, over half a million people in the UK are thought to be unaware they have diabetes.

The charity also urged people to maintain a healthy weight to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that losing weight can reduce the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes in those at high risk by 58% and physical activity can reduce the chances by 64%.

More information

To find out if you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes and for more information on leading a healthier lifestyle visit

This article was published on Tue 14 July 2009

Image © Bojan Stepancic -

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