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Contribution of 20-year body mass index and waist circumference history to poor cardiometabolic health in overweight/obese and normal weight adults: A cohort study.

  • Robson, Ellie1
  • Norris, Tom2
  • Costa, Silvia1
  • Kivimäki, Mika3
  • Hamer, Mark4
  • Johnson, William5
  • 1 School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK.
  • 2 Leicester Real World Evidence Unit, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.
  • 3 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.
  • 4 Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences, Faculty Medical Sciences, University College London, London, UK.
  • 5 School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. Electronic address: [email protected].
Published Article
Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD
Publication Date
Sep 22, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.numecd.2021.06.005
PMID: 34340899


We investigated the associations of 20-year body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) histories with risk of being 1) metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese (MUOO) vs metabolically healthy overweight/obese (MHOO) and 2) metabolically unhealthy normal weight (MUNW) vs metabolically healthy normal weight (MHNW). Participants comprised 3018 adults (2280 males; 738 females) with BMI and WC measured, every ~5 years, in 1991-1994, 1997-1999, 2002-2004, 2007-2009, and 2012-2013. Mean age in 2012-2013 was 69.3 years, with a range of 59.7-82.2 years. Duration was defined as the number of times a person was overweight/obese (or centrally obese) across the 5 visits, severity as each person's mean BMI (or WC), and variability as the within-person standard deviation of BMI (or WC). At the 2013-2013 visit, participants were categorised based on their weight (overweight/obese or normal weight; body mass index (BMI) ≥25 kg/m2) and health status (healthy or unhealthy; two or more of hypertension, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides, high glucose, and high homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance). Logistic regression was used to estimate associations with the risk of being MUNW (reference MHNW) and MUOO (reference MHOO) at the last visit. BMI and WC severity were each related to increased risk of being unhealthy, with estimates being stronger among normal weight than overweight/obese adults. The estimates for variability exposures became null upon adjustment for severity. Individuals who were overweight/obese at all 5 time points had a 1.60 (0.96-2.67) times higher risk of being MUOO than MHOO compared to those who were only overweight/obese at one (i.e., the last) time point. The corresponding estimate for central obesity was 4.20 (2.88-6.12). Greater duration was also related to higher risk of MUNW than MHNW. Being overweight/obese yet healthy seems to be partially attributable to lower exposure to adiposity across 20 years of adulthood. The results highlight the importance of maintaining optimum and stable BMI and WC, both in adults who become and do not become overweight/obese. Copyright © 2021 The Italian Diabetes Society, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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