Increased incidence of diabetes mellitus in relation to abdominal adiposity in older women

Susan A. Kaye, Aaron R. Folsom, J. Michael Sprafka, Ronald J. Prineas, Robert B. Wallace

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The relationship between body fat distribution, measured by the ratio of waist-to-hip circumferences (WHR), and the 2 year incidence of diabetes mellitus was examined in a cohort of 41,837 women aged 55-69 years. The 399 women who reported the new onset of diabetes had a significantly greater mean body mass index (kg/m2) and WHR than non-cases. After adjustment for body mass index (BMI), age and education level using multivariate logistic regression, WHR was a significant independent predictor of diabetes in a dose-response fashion. Cases were 4.6 times (95% CI = 3.8, 5.6) more likely than non-cases to be in the upper tertile of WHR and 2.2 times (95% CI = 1.8, 2.7) more likely to be in the middle tertile. Women in the highest tertiles of both WHR and BMI had a 14.4-fold (95% CI = 9.5, 21.9) higher risk of diabetes than women in the lowest tertiles. These results demonstrate that increased abdominal adiposity is a significant independent risk factor for the development of diabetes mellitus in older women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-334
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements-The authors would like to thank Linh Pham, Joonho Kim, Susan Gapstur, Karen Johnson and Joyce Wenz for their contributions and Laura Kemmis for manuscript preparation. This work is supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (ROI CA39742).


  • Body weight
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Fat distribution
  • Obesity


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