BMI trajectory linked to hyperglycemia risk irrespective of BMI level
medwireNews: The rate at which BMI changes throughout childhood and adolescence is significantly associated with adult hyperglycemia, independent of BMI level at specific time points, study findings indicate.
“Despite the overwhelming evidence regarding the predictive value of childhood BMI levels for later-life diabetes, no previous studies have concurrently considered the importance of linear slopes and levels of BMI at different childhood age points for the prediction of adult diabetes,” Wei Chen (Tulane University, New Orleans, USA) and co-authors remark.
“The observations from this study provide new insights into the early-life origins of diabetes and emphasise the importance of level-independent BMI trajectories during the adolescence period for assessing diabetes risk in later life,” they write in Diabetologia.
The longitudinal study included 2449 adults who had their BMI measured seven times, on average, from childhood (4–19 years) to adulthood (20–51 years), and their fasting glucose measured in adulthood as part of the Bogalusa Heart Study.
The researchers found that adults with hyperglycemia (n=304) had significantly higher BMI levels and linear BMI slopes at a mean age of 20.1 years than adults with normoglycemia, regardless of sex or race.
By contrast, hyperglycemic adults had consistently lower non-linear curves from childhood to adulthood, indicating a lower rate of increase than normoglycemic adults, which might be explained by the “regression-to-the-mean phenomenon,” Chen et al suggest.
They explain: “The change in the rate of BMI increase tended to slow down in middle-aged hyperglycaemic adults because there were more adults in this group with higher BMI levels.”
The researchers also point out that the BMI growth curves for hyperglycemic and normoglycemic adults started to separate from around 10 years of age.
Furthermore, the level-adjusted linear BMI slopes at ages 10–19 years, but not 5–9 years, were significantly and positively associated with adult hyperglycemia, “indicating that the adolescence age period is a crucial window for the development of hyperglycaemia in later life,” Chen and co-authors remark.
These findings are in line with those presented by Jess Tyrrell (University of Exeter, UK) at the 54th EASD Annual Meeting in Berlin, Germany, and reported by medwireNews.
Tyrrell and colleagues found that people who became overweight from age 10 years onwards were 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as adults than those whose weight remained stable or those who were overweight as children but subsequently lost weight.
By Laura Cowen
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