Weight as a risk factor for clinical diabetes in women

Graham A. Colditz, Walter C. Willett, Meir J. Stampfer, Joann E. Manson, Charles H. Hennekens, Ronald A. Arky, Frank E. Speizer

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To determine the relation of body mass index (weight/height2) with the risk of clinical non-insulin-dependent diabetes, the authors analyzed data from a cohort of 113,861 US women aged 30-55 years in 1976. During 8 years of follow-up (826,010 person-years), 873 definite cases were identified among women initially free from diagnosed diabetes. Among women of average body mass index, 23-23.9 kg/m2 the relative risk was 3.6 times that of women having a body mass index less than 22 kg/m2 The risk continued to increase above this level of body mass index. The authors observed a much weaker positive association with weight at age 18, and this association was eliminated after adjustment for current body mass index. Thus, weight gain after age 18 was a major determinant of risk. For an increase of 20-35 kg, the relative risk was 11.3, and for an increase of more than 35 kg, the relative risk was 17.3. Adjusting for family history did not appreciably alter the strong relation observed among women at average levels of body mass index. These data indicate that, at even average weight, women are at increased risk of clinical non-insulin-dependent diabetes and that the relation between body mass index and risk of diabetes is continuous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-513
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990


  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Incidence
  • Obesity
  • Women


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