Obesity management as a primary treatment goal for type 2 diabetes: time to reframe the conversation

Ildiko Lingvay, Priya Sumithran, Ricardo V Cohen, Carel W le Roux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Obesity is now recognised as a disease that is associated with serious morbidity and increased mortality. One of its main metabolic complications is type 2 diabetes, as the two conditions share key pathophysiological mechanisms. Weight loss is known to reverse the underlying metabolic abnormalities of type 2 diabetes and, as such, improve glucose control; loss of 15% or more of bodyweight can have a disease-modifying effect in people with type 2 diabetes, an outcome that is not attainable by any other glucose-lowering intervention. Furthermore, weight loss in this population exerts benefits that extend beyond glycaemic control to improve risk factors for cardiometabolic disease and quality of life. We review the evidence supporting the role of weight loss in the management of type 2 diabetes and propose that many patients with type 2 diabetes would benefit from having a primary weight-centric approach to diabetes treatment. We discuss the logistical challenges to implementing a new weight-centric primary treatment goal in people with type 2 diabetes. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Early online date30 Sep 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Sep 2021


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