Two-Year Weight Loss Reduces Diabetes Risk

Weight cycling linked to increased diabetes risk, even after adjustment for baseline weight.
Weight cycling linked to increased diabetes risk, even after adjustment for baseline weight.

Weight loss over two years is associated with reduced diabetes incidence and improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

Linda M. Delahanty, R.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined measures of weight loss in relation to incident diabetes and cardiometabolic risk factors. Data were collected for 1,000 participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle intervention arm. They analyzed nine weight measures, characterizing baseline weight, short- versus long-term weight loss, short- versus long-term weight regain, and weight cycling. The authors sought to examine predictors of incident diabetes and improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors.

The researchers found that weight loss in the first six months was protective of diabetes (hazard ratio, 0.94 per kg; P < 0.01) and cardiometabolic risk factors (P < 0.01); however, long-term weight loss (from zero to two years) was the strongest predictor of decreased incidence of diabetes (hazard ratio, 0.90 per kg; P < 0.01) and cardiometabolic risk factor improvement (for example, fasting glucose; P < 0.01).

Per participant, weight cycling ranged from zero to six times and correlated positively with incident diabetes (hazard ratio, 1.33; P < 0.01), fasting glucose (P = 0.02), homeostatic model assessment insulin resistance (P = 0.04), and systolic blood pressure (P = 0.01). The effect of weight cycling was significant for diabetes risk (hazard ratio, 1.22; P = 0.03), but not for cardiometabolic traits, after adjustment for baseline weight.

"Two-year weight loss was the strongest predictor of reduced diabetes risk and improvements in cardiometabolic traits," the authors write.

Pharmaceutical, nutrition, and exercise industries donated materials, equipment, or medicines and/or supported the study.

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