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Body weight cycling ups diabetes risk

22 Aug 2020

Body weight cycling or fluctuation appears to be a strong risk factor for new-onset diabetes, reports a new meta-analysis.

Drawing from the databases of PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library, researchers retrieved 14 studies that investigated the link between weight cycling in adults and diabetes risk. The pooled cohort included 253,766 participants with 8,904 diabetes events. Twelve of the included study were of high quality, as assessed by the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.

Pooled analysis revealed a significant link between weight cycling and the risk of new-onset diabetes (relative risk, 1.23, 95 percent confidence interval, 1.07–1.41; p=0.003). Evidence was significantly heterogenous (p<0.001).

Meta-regression analysis was performed to identify the contributors to heterogeneity. This suggested that age of the participants (p=0.04), location (p=0.02), duration of follow-up (p=0.01), quality of study (p=0.007), method of weight ascertainment (p=0.01), and duration for the assessment of weight change (p=0.01) were all significant sources of heterogeneity. All p-values were obtained from univariable models.

Subgroup analysis further showed that weight fluctuations posed a greater risk for diabetes in participants where individuals engaged in the cycling intentionally (p<0.001), although only a small number of studies were available for this analysis.

“In summary, the pooled estimates from available cohort studies revealed that individuals with weight cycling had a higher risk of developing diabetes,” the researchers said. “Future physiological studies are needed for the causal links and underlying mechanisms between weight cycling and diabetes.”

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