MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The age of onset of obesity and cumulative exposure to obesity are associated with the risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in Diabetologia.

Juhua Luo, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health at Indiana University in Bloomington, and colleagues followed 11,192 women aged 18 to 23 years at baseline in 1996 about every three years via survey for up to 19 years. Distinct body mass index (BMI) trajectories were identified during the early adult life course. The associations between these trajectories and risk for incident type 2 diabetes were examined.

During a mean of 16 years of follow-up, 1.5 percent of women were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The researchers identified six distinct BMI trajectories varying by initial BMI and slopes of increase. There was a positive association for initial BMI with risk for diabetes. A negative association was seen for age at onset of obesity with risk for diabetes (hazard ratio, 0.87 per one-year increment); a positive association was seen for the number of obese-years with diabetes.

“The results highlight the importance of preventing or delaying the onset of obesity and reducing cumulative exposure to obesity to substantially lower the risk of developing diabetes,” the authors write. “We recommend that people self-monitor weight change over time, and that health care providers attend to weight change in addition to static weight as another risk factor for diabetes.”

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