Men have to gain less weight than women to develop type 2 diabetes, new research shows.
A study carried out by academics at Glasgow University found men developed the disease at a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than women.
This helps explain why men have higher rates of diabetes in many parts of the world.
Professor Naveed Sattar, of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said being overweight was a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Other factors were age, ethnicity and genetics.
"Previous research has indicated that middle-aged men are at a higher risk of developing diabetes than women and one possible explanation is that men have to gain less weight than women to develop the condition," he said. "In other words, men appear to be at higher risk for diabetes."
Researchers analysed data from 51,920 men and 43,137 women in Scotland with diabetes. The results showed the mean BMI at diabetes diagnosis in men was 31.83, but 33.69 in women.
Prof Sattar said the reasons why women might develop diabetes later than men could be linked to fat distribution as men carried more fat around their stomach and liver.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by too much sugar in the blood which occurs when the body's ability to regulate sugar levels in several different organs becomes disturbed.
The condition is linked to excess fat in some of these organs such as the liver.