HealthDay News — Eating speed can affect changes in obesity, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online in BMJ Open.

Yumi Hurst and Haruhisa Fukuda, PhD, both from Kyushu University in Japan, used commercially available insurance claims data and health checkup data to identify 59,717 Japanese men and women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. BMI was measured, and food-related lifestyle habits were assessed at health checkups. The primary exposure of interest was eating speed.

Using a generalized estimating equation model, the researchers found that eating slower inhibited the development of obesity.

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Compared to fast eaters, the odds ratio for being obese was 0.58 for slow eaters and 0.71 for normal-speed eaters. Similarly, eating slower was associated with reduced body mass index and waist circumference in a fixed-effects model.

“Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks,” the authors write.

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Hurst Y, Fukuda H. Effects of changes in eating speed on obesity in patients with diabetes: a secondary analysis of longitudinal health check-up data [published online February 12, 2018]. BMJ. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019589