OBJECTIVE To determine whether duration and degree of weight gain are differentially associated with diabetes risk in younger versus middle-aged black and white adults. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We combined data from three cohort studies: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC), Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA), and the Framingham Heart Study. A total of 17,404 participants (56% women; 21% black) were stratified by baseline age (younger: ≥30 and <45 years; middle-aged: ≥45 and <60 years) and examined for incident diabetes (median follow-up 9 years). Duration and degree of gain in BMI were calculated as "BMI-years" above one's baseline BMI. RESULTS Diabetes incidence per 1,000 person-years in the younger andmiddle-aged groups was 7.2 (95% CI 5.7, 8.7) and 24.4 (22.0, 26.8) in blacks, respectively, and 3.4 (2.8, 4.0) and 10.5 (9.9, 11.2) in whites, respectively. After adjusting for sex, baseline BMI and other cardiometabolic factors, and age and race interaction terms, gains in BMI-years were associated with higher risk of diabetes in the younger compared with middle-aged groups: hazard ratios for 1-unit increase in log BMI-years in younger versus middle-aged blacks were 1.18 (P = 0.02) and 1.02 (P = 0.39), respectively (P for interaction by age-group = 0.047), and in whites were 1.35 (P < 0.001) and 1.11 (P < 0.001), respectively (P for interaction by age-group = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS Although middle-aged adults have higher rates of diabetes, younger adults are at greater relative risk of developing diabetes for a given level of duration and degree of weight gain.