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Diabetes risk in overweight and obese metabolically healthy young men

The Metabolic, Lifestyle and Nutrition Assessment in Young Adults study examined the incidence of diabetes in a cohort of 33,939 young men (mean age, 30.9 years) over a median follow-up period of 6.1 years. The cohort was stratified for BMI and metabolic abnormalities at the start of the study. After adjustment for a selection of potentially confounding factors, men who were defined as metabolically healthy but who were obese (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more) or overweight (BMI of 25 kg/m2 or more but not obese) were more likely to develop diabetes compared with normal-weight individuals.

by Colin Kenny, GP, Dromore

In this study, which was based in Israel, 33,939 men aged 25 years or older (mean age, 30.9 years) without metabolic risk factors were followed up to collect data on the incidence of diabetes. The cohort was defined as metabolically healthy individuals, with normoglycaemia, normal blood pressure, and normal levels of fasting triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol. During the follow-up, there were 734 new cases of diabetes diagnosed. There was a 10.6% increased risk with each unit increase of BMI. Within the cohort, metabolically healthy participants of normal weight had a lower incident rate of diabetes compared with obese people (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more) and overweight people (BMI of 25 kg/m2 or more but not obese).

This study suggests that the increased risk of diabetes associated with being overweight or obese extends to young male adults with no other recognisable diabetes risk factors. This finding emphasises the importance of tight follow-up of overweight and obese young adults for diabetes, independent of the presence of other risk factors. Stated differently, the results suggest that a healthy metabolic profile and the absence of diabetes risk factors do not protect young adults from incident diabetes associated with overweight and obesity.


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