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BMC Public Health. 2011 May 25;11:383. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-383.

"Predictability of body mass index for diabetes: affected by the presence of metabolic syndrome?".

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  • 1Prevention of Metabolic Disorders Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Metabolic syndrome (MetS) and body mass index (BMI, kg.m(-2)) are established independent risk factors in the development of diabetes; we prospectively examined their relative contributions and joint relationship with incident diabetes in a Middle Eastern cohort.


participants of the ongoing Tehran lipid and glucose study are followed on a triennial basis. Among non-diabetic participants aged≥ 20 years at baseline (8,121) those with at least one follow-up examination (5,250) were included for the current study. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate sex-specific adjusted odd ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of baseline BMI-MetS categories (normal weight without MetS as reference group) for incident diabetes among 2186 men and 3064 women, aged ≥ 20 years, free of diabetes at baseline.


During follow up (median 6.5 years); there were 369 incident diabetes (147 in men). In women without MetS, the multivariate adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for overweight (BMI 25-30 kg/m(2)) and obese (BMI≥30) participants were 2.3 (1.2-4.3) and 2.2 (1.0-4.7), respectively. The corresponding ORs for men without MetS were 1.6 (0.9-2.9) and 3.6 (1.5-8.4) respectively. As compared to the normal-weight/without MetS, normal-weight women and men with MetS, had a multivariate-adjusted ORs for incident diabetes of 8.8 (3.7-21.2) and 3.1 (1.3-7.0), respectively. The corresponding ORs for overweight and obese women with MetS reached to 7.7 (4.0-14.9) and 12.6 (6.9-23.2) and for men reached to 3.4(2.0-5.8) and 5.7(3.9-9.9), respectively.


This study highlights the importance of screening for MetS in normal weight individuals. Obesity increases diabetes risk in the absence of MetS, underscores the need for more stringent criteria to define healthy metabolic state among obese individuals. Weight reduction measures, thus, should be encouraged in conjunction with achieving metabolic targets not addressed by current definition of MetS, both in every day encounter and public health setting.

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