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Incidence and temporal trends in type 2 diabetes by weight status: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

Journal of Global Health. Sep 1;13:04088. 2023
Yu H.J., Ho M.*, Liu X., Yang J., Chau P.H., Fong D.Y.T.


Background: Diabetes is more prevalent among overweight/obese individuals, but has become a significant public health challenge among normal weight populations. In this meta-analysis, we aimed to estimate diabetes/prediabetes incidence and its temporal trends by weight status.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library were searched until 8 December 2021. Prospective cohort studies reporting diabetes incidence by baseline body mass index (BMI) categories in adults were included. The median year of data collection was used to assess the temporal trends. Subgroup analyses and meta-regression were also performed.

Results: We included 94 studies involving 3.4 million adults from 22 countries. The pooled diabetes incidence in underweight, normal-weight, and overweight/obese adults was 4.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.8-7.3), 2.7 (95% CI = 2.2-3.3), and 10.5 (95% CI = 9.3-11.8) per 1000 person-years, respectively. The diabetes incidence in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) was higher than in high-income countries among normal-weight (5.8 vs 2.0 per 1000 person-years) or overweight/obese (15.9 vs 8.9 per 1000 person-years) adults. European and American regions had a higher diabetes incidence than the non-Western areas, regardless of weight status. Underweight diabetes incidence decreased significantly from 1995-2000 to 2005-2010. Diabetes incidence in normal-weight populations has increased continuously since 1985 by an estimated 36% every five years. In overweight/obese adults, diabetes incidence increased between 1985-1990 and 1995-2000, stabilised between 2000 and 2010, and spiked suddenly after 2010.

Conclusions: Diabetes incidence and its temporal trends differed by weight status. The continuous upward trend of diabetes incidence among overweight/obese individuals requires urgent attention, particularly in LMICs. Furthermore, diabetes among normal-weight individuals is becoming a significant public health problem.

Registration: PROSPERO (CRD42020215957).

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(*Corresponding Author)