Could Bra Size Predict Diabetes Risk?

If you're worried about getting diabetes, take note of your bra size. A larger cup size is linked to higher rates of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The lead author of the study, Dr Joel Ray, said"I think the take-home message is that we have a new and thought provoking concept about how breast fatness or breast fat might be viewed as a contributor to Type 2 diabetes risk in a woman," lead author Dr. Joel Ray said in an interview in The Canadian Press.

The study found that women with an A cup at age 20 developed the disease at a lower rate in later life than women who wore B, C and D cups. The study accounted for factors that are known to increase the risk of diabetes, such as body mass index and a family history of the disease.

But some medical experts scoff at the notion that having large breasts puts a woman at risk for diabetes. It's has more to do with carrying excess weight in the mid section in general, they say.

"Type 2 diabetes is brought out by obesity, particularly obesity in the area between the diaphragm and the bladder," says Dr. Brian Tulloch, endocrinologist at Park Plaza Hospital and Medical Center in Houston, Texas. "Having fat in this area is immensely risky."

And apple-shaped women are more at risk than pear-shaped ones, says Lorena Drago, certified diabetes educator and board member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

"The more abdominal fat you have, the more you are at an increased risk of developing diabetes," she says. "Women complain that they are getting bigger in their hips and thighs, but this is less harmful in terms of your diabetes risk than having a lot of abdominal fat."

Reducing your risk for diabetes

If your waist size measures more than 35 inches, you're at an increased risk for diabetes, Drago says. (A 40-inch or larger waist puts men at risk).

Reducing your overall weight will reduce abdominal fat, according to Drago.

Make sure your diet includes monounsaturated fats like olive oil, walnuts and almonds rather than saturated fats like butter, she says. Eat more fatty fish like salmon and sardines, consume less red meat, and increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.