Weight cycling and the risk of type 2 diabetes in the EPIC-Germany cohort

J. Neamat-Allah, M. Barrdahl, A. Husing, V. A. Katzke, U. Bachlechner, A. Steffen, R. Kaaks, M. B. Schulze, H. Boeing, T. Kuhn

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Studies on weight cycling and the risk of type 2 diabetes have revealed inconsistent results, possibly due to differences in the definition of weight fluctuations. Here, we investigated whether weight cycling during adulthood is related to diabetes risk in a large cohort study, using a complementary approach to define patterns of weight development.

Weight cycling, weight loss and weight gain were defined (1) a priori, using distinct categories, and (2) by functional principal component analysis (FPCA) to capture weight patterns in greater detail. Associations of weight cycling, weight loss and weight gain with the risk of type 2 diabetes were evaluated by Cox regression models.

A priori defined weight cycling was associated with increased diabetes risk, compared with stable weight (HR 1.36 [95% CI 1.09, 1.68]). No significant association between FPCA-derived weight cycling and risk of diabetes was observed after adjustment for concurrent weight patterns (HR 1.19 [95% CI 0.89, 1.60]). Subgroup analyses showed that FPCA-derived weight cycling during net weight gain was associated with a higher risk of diabetes (HR 1.68 [95% CI 1.14, 2.48]). A priori defined weight gain (HR 2.08 [95% CI 1.60, 2.70]) was more clearly related to the risk of diabetes than FPCA-derived weight gain (HR 1.20 [95% CI 0.95, 1.51]), while no significant associations were observed for weight loss.

Overall, weight cycling may not be an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes when accounting for concurrent patterns of weight development. However, weight cycling may pose a stronger risk of diabetes than non-cycling during net weight gain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2718-25
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2015


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