Young, thin and diabetic

Published On: Nov 15 2012 08:36:55 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 16 2012 06:20:00 AM EST

If current trends continue, one in three people will be diabetic by the year 2050. But the disease is threatening a new group of people: seemingly fit women.

It's what some experts are calling TOFI or "thin outside, fat inside." It happens when fat that would normally build up under your skin packs onto your abdominal organs. Here a few ways many women could be sabotaging their health.  

First up: ditching exercise for diets. Turns out, breaking a sweat is the only way to shed visceral fat -- the dangerous fat that surrounds internal organs. Moderate exercise causes muscles to suck up glucose at 20 times the normal rate.
Also, yo-yo dieting can be bad. When you lose weight through dieting, you also lose muscle. Each time you regain the weight, you gain only fat. Yo-yo dieters lose the muscle mass that would help them burn visceral fat and control blood sugar.
Finally, chronic stress is a culprit. When you're stressed, your body produces cortisol. Scientists have found that too much of it can disrupt fat storage and lead to a spike in visceral fat in normal-weight women.
The number of diabetes-related hospitalizations among people in their thirties has doubled in the past decade, with women 1.3 times more likely to be admitted than men. 65 million people age 20 or older have pre-diabetes. That's 8 million more than what was recorded in 2007.