Study finds link between bra cup size and Type 2 diabetes

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A woman's chest

Casey Yetman

D CUPS INCREASING YOUR CHANCE OF DIABETES? PERHAPS. Recent medical research suggests there may be a link between womens' cup sizes and their likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.

A new study could prove bigger is not always better.

Women with larger bra cup sizes may be at a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study led by Dr. Joel Ray, a physician at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

The study sampled young and middle-aged women in 14 US states and found " with adjustment for family history, diet and exercise " women with D cups at age 20 had a 1.71 times higher risk of diabetes than women with an A cup. Even women with B cups were 1.41 times more likely to develop the illness.

The connection may seem obvious, since breast size correlates to an elevated body mass index and high BMIs are already linked with diabetes.

The report, printed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, admitted, “BMI appears to be a stronger predictor of risk of Type 2 diabetes than bra cup size.”

Dr. Ray added, “Little is known about the impact of breast fat. Our study’s significant findings suggest a strong correlation between the two, independent of other factors such as BMI.”

“All fat is not the same,” Dr. Ruth McManus, associate professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, said.

Belly fat, for example, is more harmful than hip fat. Dr. Ray and his associates have discovered breast fat is metabolically active, which means, like belly fat, it secretes hormones that increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

However, Dr. McManus said women shouldn’t necessarily be worried. “[Women should] focus on the healthy lifestyle interventions that will decrease [their] risks of diabetes.”

The rate of Type 2 diabetes is increasing and is expected to cost the Canadian healthcare system $19.2 billion a year by 2010.

Dr. McManus hoped the study would encourage research.

“I think this study would further spur people on to think about the hormones that come from fat,” she said.

Randi Garcha, marketing and communications associate with the Canadian Diabetes Association, cautioned: “It’s too early to say whether breast size will be a meaningful indicator.”

She advised concerned women to visit their doctors.

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