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Aims/hypothesis: Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, yet little is known about how timing and cumulative exposure of obesity are related to disease risk. The aim of this study was to examine the associations between BMI trajectories, age of onset of obesity and obese-years (a product of degree and duration of obesity) over early adulthood and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes.
Methods: Women aged 18–23 years at baseline (n = 11,192) enrolled in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) in 1996 were followed up about every 3 years via surveys for up to 19 years. Self-reported weights were collected up to seven times. Incident type 2 diabetes was self-reported. A growth mixture model was used to identify distinct BMI trajectories over the early adult life course. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the associations between trajectories and risk of diabetes.
Results: One hundred and sixty-two (1.5%) women were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during a mean of 16 years of follow-up. Six distinct BMI trajectories were identified, varying by different initial BMI and different slopes of increase. Initial BMI was positively associated with risk of diabetes. We also observed that age at onset of obesity was negatively associated with risk of diabetes (HR 0.87 [95% CI 0.79, 0.96] per 1 year increment), and number of obese-years was positively associated with diabetes (p for trend <0.0001).
Conclusions/interpretation: Our data revealed the importance of timing of obesity, and cumulative exposure to obesity in the development of type 2 diabetes in young women, suggesting that preventing or delaying the onset of obesity and reducing cumulative exposure to obesity may substantially lower the risk of developing diabetes.
Juhua Luo,Allison Hodge,Michael Hendryx,Julie E Byles