Dangers for diabetes, cardiometabolic problems rise with weight problems period

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February 03, 2021

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Norris reports that the study was funded by a grant from the Medical Research Council.

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People who have been obese for longer are at higher risk of diabetes and other cardiometabolic disorders than people with no history of obesity or of shorter duration. This is evident from study results published in PLOS Medicine.

Tom Norris

“Our results show the importance of delaying obesity. However, if you do become obese, you can reduce your risk of cardiometabolic disease through weight loss.” Tom Norris, PhD, a senior research fellow in epidemiology and biostatistics at Loughborough University in the UK, told Healio. “However, our results also suggest that the number of years a person with a BMI above the obesity threshold lives increases their risk of diabetes, even if their BMI is only in the obese range and not increasing any further.”

People with obesity are at higher risk of elevated HbA1c, with the risk for people with obesity increasing over time.

Norris and colleagues analyzed data from three UK birth cohort studies: the National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) by the Medical Research Council, the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the British Cohort Study (BCS70) from 1970. The BMI was measured from the or self-reported height and weight that were collected at a given age. Data were collected at ages 11, 15, 20, 26, 36, and 43 years for NSHD. 11, 16, 23, 33 and 42 years in NCDS; and 10, 16, 26, 30, 34 and 42 years in BCS70. Blood samples to measure HbA1c, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and HDL cholesterol were taken at 53 years of age for NSHD, 44 years of age for NCDS, and 46 years of age for BCS70.

Data from 20,746 participants from all three studies were analyzed (49.1% male). After adjusting for obesity severity, obesity was associated with a 4.5% increase in HbA1c between the ages of 10 and 40 compared to those who never had obesity (95% CI, 3.5-5.6). Patients with obesity under 5 years of age had a 2.1 times higher risk of increased HbA1c values ​​compared to patients without obesity (95% CI, 1.8-2.4). The risk was even higher in people with obesity between the ages of 20 and 30 (RR = 4.6; 95% CI, 3.9-5.5). The association was weakened after adjusting the severity of obesity, but remained statistically significant (P for trend = 0.006).

Those with obesity between 10 and 40 years of age had a 6.1% higher systolic blood pressure (95% CI, 5.6-6.6) and a 7.1% higher diastolic BP (95% CI, 6.6-7, 7) compared to those who have never had obesity. Unadjusted data showed that duration of obesity was associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures, but the evidence for the association was greatly reduced when adjusted for obesity severity. Obesity between 10 and 40 years of age was also associated with an increased risk of hypertension (RR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.5-1.7), regardless of obesity severity. The risk of hypertension increased gradually with the duration of obesity in unmatched data, but the evidence for the association was weakened after adjusting for obesity severity. Obesity from 10 to 40 years of age also increased the risk of low HDL cholesterol (RR = 2; 95% CI, 1.8-2.2), regardless of the severity of obesity. Similar to blood pressure and high blood pressure, the risk increased with the duration of obesity, but was mitigated by adjusting the severity of obesity.

“We expected that people who were obese for longer would get worse results,” said Norris. “However, we were surprised that the relationship between obesity duration and HbA1c was largely still present after considering the severity of obesity. This wasn’t what we found for the other results. “

Norris said the associations between poorer cardiometabolic outcomes and the duration of obesity show the importance of treating obesity early on.

“We believe there is a need to focus on combating obesity in children, which in turn will shorten a person’s lifespan and thus reduce the risk of an adverse cardiometabolic profile in adulthood,” said Norris. “We advocate regular, routine BMI measurements, especially in childhood and adolescence, to identify people who have patterns of BMI development that are likely to lead to obesity.”

For more informations:

Tom Norris, PhDcan be reached at t.norris@lboro.ac.uk.

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