Early puberty increases risk for type 2 diabetes in men

Men who have puberty earlier than usual are more at risk for type 2 diabetes. And this trend is independent of weight. The study has been published in Diabetologia. The results can help develop recommendations for prevention and testing for diabetes in men.

Scientists in Gothenburg, Sweden, have studied data from more than 30 000 men born between 1945 and 1961. They were interested in information about peak growth rates (the time when boys grow most rapidly during puberty) and the participants' body mass index. In terms of the growth spurt, the researchers divided the participants into groups: the first group included those who began to grow rapidly at ages 9.3-13.4, the second group included those who began to grow rapidly at ages 13.4-14.8, and the third group included those who began to grow at ages 14.8-17.9. The average age of puberty was 14 years.

During the thirty-year period of observation about 1850 men became ill with diabetes mellitus of the second type. After taking into account external factors (birth year, country, weight, education, etc.) specialists found that earlier puberty was associated with a 25% increase in the risk of diabetes. On the contrary, later puberty reduced the risk of developing the disease by 30%. In addition, boys with high BMI in childhood and puberty were even more likely to develop dangerous diseases.

Thus, the authors of the study conclude that early puberty may be a new independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes in men. The main mechanism of this association, in their opinion, can be considered the accumulation of excess abdominal fat associated with an earlier maturation period. The accumulation of visceral fat leads to high blood pressure and diabetes and also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.

Scientists believe that it is necessary to closely monitor height and weight in childhood and adolescence to identify people with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

March 24, 2020, 11:05 a.m.

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