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Many diabetics can't define "healthy" weight


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Many diabetics can't define "healthy" weight

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although weight loss is a cornerstone of managing diabetes, many people who have the disease don't know what their ideal weight range should be, a study suggests.

About half of the time, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found, overweight diabetics defined their "healthiest" weight with a number that was still too heavy for their height.

Some even considered a weight in the obese range to be their optimal number, according to findings published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Since weight loss is a prime goal for overweight diabetics, doctors may need to do a better job of counseling patients on weight issues, conclude Dr. Kathleen McTigue and her colleagues.

"These findings elicit cause for concern given the importance of body weight in managing diabetes," they write.

The findings are based on a survey of 573 adults with type 2 diabetes, most of whom were overweight or obese. Respondents gave their current weight and height, and were asked to estimate the "healthiest weight" for their height.

Nearly all correctly perceived themselves as overweight. But when estimating their healthiest weight, 41 percent of overweight respondents gave an overweight measurement, as did 66 percent of obese respondents.

Six percent of all study participants chose a number in the obese range.

Men were particularly likely to be off the mark. Only 35 percent gave a normal weight as their health ideal, compared with 65 percent of women.

McTigue and her colleagues call their findings "sobering," and they urge doctors to make weight management a greater priority in caring for patients with diabetes.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, March 2006.

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