If you are obese | Diabetes Hub

Obesity affects diabetics in many ways. Learn how to lose weight and what you should consider when embarking on exercises.

Physical Activity

If you are obese

How obesity affects you

  • Mechanical consequences
    Osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease etc.
  • Metabolic health
    Diabetes, gout, fatty liver, certain cancers etc.
  • Mental health
    Self-esteem, body image, etc.
  • Monetary health
    Cost of treatment​

Effects of weight loss on diabetes and pre-diabetes​

  • If you have pre-diabetes or at high risk of developing diabetes:
    A 5-7% weight loss is recommended to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
  • If you have Type 2 diabetes:
    More than 5% weight loss will improve glucose, lipids and blood pressure control​.

Types of intervention

Type of intervention
Expected weight loss
Exercise only*
0 to 3%
Diet + exercise
3 to 10%
Weight loss medications, very low calorie diet
5 to 10%
Endoscopic bariatric procedures
15 to 20%
Bariatric surgery
25 to 30 %
*SGH Obesity Centre; Swift et al., 2018​

Exercise considerations

Lower physical activity levels are prevalent in adults who are overweight and obese (Cassidy et al., 2017). This is likely due to low exercise capacity and being easily fatigued​.

Start slow

E.g., If you are starting a walking programme, start with leisure walking instead of brisk walking. ​

Take breaks in between

E.g., Instead of doing 20 minutes of physical activity continuously, aim for 2 x 10 minutes with a break in between.

Progress gradually

Monitor your overall energy and fatigue levels during and the day after exercise.​

Ensure that you do not feel excessively fatigued, such that you can't carry out your normal daily routine.

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