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Research Article

Changes in Metabolic Health Status Over Time and Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes


Supplemental Digital Content is available in the textAbstractMetabolic health and obesity are not stable conditions, and changes in the status of these conditions might lead to different clinical outcomes. We aimed to determine whether changes in metabolic health status or obesity over time have any effect on the risk of future diabetes.Nondiabetic individuals (n = 2692) from a population-based prospective cohort study with baseline and 2 follow-up examinations at 4-year intervals were included. Being “metabolically obese” (MO) was defined as being in the highest quartile of the TyG index (ln [fasting triglycerides (mg/dL) × fasting glucose (mg/dL)/2]), whereas falling into the lower 3 quartiles was regarded as being “metabolically healthy” (MH). Individuals were classified as “obese” (O) or “nonobese” (NO) using a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 as a cut-off. The risk of diabetes at year 8 was assessed according to changes of metabolic health status between year 0 and 4.Multivariate-adjusted relative risks (RRs) (95% confidence interval [CI]) of diabetes were significantly higher in individuals who retained the MONO phenotype (RR 3.72, 95% CI 2.10, 6.60) or who had progressed to MONO from the MHNO phenotype (RR 1.96, 95% CI 1.06, 3.61), whereas it was not significant in individuals who had improved to MHNO from the MONO phenotype (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.26, 1.74) compared with individuals who retained the MHNO phenotype. In contrast, obese individuals had significantly higher RRs for diabetes, independent of changes in metabolic health status, whereas weight reduction resulted in a decreased risk of diabetes. Sensitivity analysis using the presence or absence of the metabolic syndrome as a definition of metabolic health revealed similar results.Changes in metabolic health status were an independent risk factor for future diabetes in nonobese individuals, whereas general obesity had a greater contribution to the risk of obese individuals developing diabetes. These observations might imply a different intervention strategy for diabetes prevention according to obesity status.