OBJECTIVE - To examine the influence of obesity and prevention of weight gain on the incidence of type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We examined participants in the San Antonio Heart Study, a prospective population-based study of Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites residing in San Antonio, Texas. BMI was stratified into four categories: normal (<25 kg/m2), overweight (≥25 kg/m2 and <30 kg/m 2), obese (≥30 kg/m2 and <35 kg/m2), and very obese (≥35 kg/m2). The number and proportion of incident cases prevented by targeting each BMI category were estimated. In addition, we calculated the decrease in risk of developing type 2 diabetes associated with weight gain prevention across both the BMI and age spectra. RESULTS - Preventing normal individuals from becoming overweight would result in the greatest reduction in incidence of type 2 diabetes. This would result in a 62 and 74% reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites, respectively. Preventing the entire population from gaining, on average, 1 BMI unit would result in a reduction in incidence of type 2 diabetes of 12.4 and 13.0% in Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites, respectively. CONCLUSIONS - The majority of cases of type 2 diabetes were in individuals who were overweight or mildly obese with a family history of type 2 diabetes. Public health resources should be directed toward the prevention of weight gain among normal and overweight individuals in order to prevent the maximum number of cases of type 2 diabetes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing