THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2020 — Longer obesity duration is associated with worse cardiometabolic disease risk factors, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in PLOS Medicine.
Tom Norris, Ph.D., from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used harmonized body mass index and cardiometabolic disease risk factor data from 20,746 participants (49.1 percent male and 97.2 percent White) enrolled in three British birth cohort studies — the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development, the 1958 National Child Development Study, and the 1970 British Cohort Study — to investigate whether the duration of obesity was related to heterogeneity in cardiometabolic risk.
The researchers found that greater obesity duration was associated with worse values for all cardiometabolic disease risk factors. The strongest association with obesity duration was for glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). HbA1c levels in those with obesity for less than five years were relatively higher by 5 percent versus those who were never obese, but levels reached 20 percent higher in those with obesity for 20 to 30 years. The association with obesity duration was largely attenuated for systolic and diastolic blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol when adjusting for obesity severity. The association with obesity duration persisted for HBA1c, independent of obesity severity.
“Our findings suggest that health policy recommendations aimed at preventing early obesity onset, and therefore reducing lifetime exposure, may help reduce the risk of diabetes, independently of obesity severity,” the authors write.
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