Weight Control Important for Diabetes Risk in Later Years

BMI and waist circumference at 65 and older, weight gain after 50 linked to higher risk

TUESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- In older adults, body fat and weight gain after the age of 50 are associated with a higher risk of diabetes, according to research published in the June 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mary L. Biggs, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,193 men and women aged 65 or older who were free of diabetes at baseline. Subjects reported their weight at age 50 and underwent assessment of adiposity at baseline and again three years later. They were followed for a median 12.4 years.

The researchers found that those in the highest quintile of body mass index at baseline had a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than those in the lowest (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 4.3), with a similar relationship for body mass index at age 50 (aHR, 3.0). Fat mass, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, and waist-height ratio were also associated with greater risk. However, aHRs were roughly half as large for people 75 and older than those ages 65 to 74. Participants who gained the most weight from age 50 to baseline had higher risk than those whose weight stayed stable (aHR, 2.8).

"Results of this study affirm the importance of maintaining optimal weight during middle age for prevention of diabetes and, while requiring confirmation, suggest that weight control remains important in reducing diabetes risk among adults 65 years of age and older," the authors conclude.

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