Weight gain may be healthy when it comes to type 1 diabetes

June 7, 2008

Gaining body fat may be a good thing, at least for people with type 1 diabetes, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Their study, being presented at the 68th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco, followed 655 patients with type 1 diabetes for 20 years and found that patients who gained weight over time were less likely to die.

The findings are based on participants in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study, a long-term prospective study of childhood onset type 1 diabetes, which began in 1986. Participants in the study, an average age of 28 when entering the study and 44 at its completion, were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1980. Researchers measured patients' body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference and assessed BMI every two years during the study period. Over the course of the study, 147 deaths occurred.

Results showed that patients whose BMI increased the most during the study (2 to 11 points or about 10 to 55 pounds) were one-third less likely to die than those who had smaller increases in BMI, indicating that weight gain may protect people with type 1 diabetes from premature death.

"Although weight gain in adulthood is typically associated with increased mortality, this may not be the case for those with type 1 diabetes," said Trevor Orchard, M.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "Gaining a reasonable amount of weight may be a sign patients are getting enough insulin and appropriately controlling their disease, which may partly explain why those who gained weight over time had lower mortality rates," said Dr. Orchard, who also is professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Orchard and colleagues also looked at BMI ranges and mortality and found no difference in mortality between those with a BMI in the overweight range (BMI 25 to 30) and the normal range (BMI 20 to 25). Conversely, they found that having a BMI in the underweight (BMI less than 20) or obese range (BMI 30 and greater) was a strong predictor of mortality. When researchers controlled for waist circumference, a commonly cited reason for general fat mortality, patients with a BMI in the underweight range were at greatest risk for death, while those with a BMI in the overweight or obese ranges had a decreased risk of mortality compared to patients with a normal BMI.

"These results are not a firm recommendation to people with type 1 diabetes to put on weight, but it does raise the possibility that weight recommendations in type 1 diabetes may be somewhat different than those for the general population, and emphasizes the complex relationship between body fat and mortality in diabetes," added Baqiyyah Conway, M.P.H., lead author of the abstract.

Source: University of Pittsburgh

Explore further: Kids with weight issues at high risk of emotional and behavioural problems

Related Stories

Kids with weight issues at high risk of emotional and behavioural problems

August 10, 2017
A new, in-depth study of New Zealand children and teenagers seeking help with weight issues has found their emotional health and wellbeing is, on average, markedly worse than that of children without weight issues.

Using a pig model to study chronic diseases may help minimize drug failure rate

July 20, 2017
Scientists may be able to minimize the failure rate of drugs for diseases linked to high-calorie diets, such as colon cancer and type 2 diabetes, if they test treatments using a pig model, according to an international team ...

AAP counsels pediatricians to focus on clusters of cardiometabolic risk factors to help obese kids

July 24, 2017
Because obesity affects one in six U.S. children and adolescents, there is a pressing need to identify the subset of overweight or obese kids at the highest risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic complications and ...

Study finds 90 percent of American men overfat

July 24, 2017
Does your waist measure more than half your height?

Higher BMI linked with increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes

July 5, 2017
Results of a new study add to the evidence of an association between higher body mass index (BMI) and increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, according to ...

Obesity and diabetes rising across Africa, according to study

June 6, 2017
Obesity and diabetes are rising in Africa, led by higher income countries in the north and south.

Recommended for you

Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015: study

August 17, 2017
The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

New test differentiates between Lyme disease, similar illness

August 16, 2017
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. But it can be confused with similar conditions, including Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. A team of researchers led by Colorado ...

Addressing superbug resistance with phage therapy

August 16, 2017
International research involving a Monash biologist shows that bacteriophage therapy – a process whereby bacterial viruses attack and destroy specific strains of bacteria - can be used successfully to treat systemic, multidrug ...

Can previous exposure to west Nile alter the course of Zika?

August 15, 2017
West Nile virus is no stranger to the U.S.-Mexico border; thousands of people in the region have contracted the mosquito-borne virus in the past. But could this previous exposure affect how intensely Zika sickens someone ...

Compounds in desert creosote bush could treat giardia and 'brain-eating' amoeba infections

August 15, 2017
Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that compounds produced by the creosote bush, a ...

New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes

August 11, 2017
Left untreated, malaria can progress from being mild to severe—and potentially fatal—in 24 hours. So researchers at the University of British Columbia developed a method to quickly and sensitively assess the progression ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.