Prospective Study of Obesity and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Among Diabetic Women

Contact: Available from American Diabetes Association. 1701 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311. (800) 232-3472. Website:

Summary: This article reports on a study undertaken to examine the relationship of obesity, measured as BMI, and weight change to incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among women with diabetes. The authors followed 5,897 women with type 2 diabetes in the Nurses' Health Study for up to 20 years. Women were aged 40 to 74 years and had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the follow up period. During follow up, the authors document 418 incident cases of CHD (236 of nonfatal myocardial infarction and 182 of fatal CHD). After adjustment for age, smoking, and other coronary risk factors, current BMI (body mass index) was strongly associated with increased risk of CHD among women with diabetes. Increasing BMI values from age 18 years to 1976, before diagnosis of diabetes, were also positively associated with risk of CHD. Weight gain before the diagnosis of diabetes was related to increased risk of CHD. In contrast, weight change after diagnosis of diabetes was not associated with risk of CHD. The authors conclude that these findings provide strong evidence that obesity and weight gain before diagnosis of diabetes are associated with future risk of CHD among women with type 2 diabetes. 1 figure. 2 tables. 34 references.

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