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PLoS One. 2016 Jan 25;11(1):e0146889. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146889. eCollection 2016.

Intentional Weight Loss and Longevity in Overweight Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-Based Cohort Study.

Author information

  • 1The Research Unit for General Practice and Section of General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
  • 3Finsen Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 4Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.
  • 5Research Unit for Dietary Studies, The Parker Institute and Institute of Preventive Medicine, Capital Region, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg University Hospitals, Frederiksberg, Denmark.
  • 6The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
  • 7The National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark.



This study examined the influence of weight loss on long-term morbidity and mortality in overweight (BMI≥25 kg/m2) patients with type 2 diabetes, and tested the hypothesis that therapeutic intentional weight loss supervised by a medical doctor prolongs life and reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease in these patients.


This is a 19 year cohort study of patients in the intervention arm of the randomized clinical trial Diabetes Care in General Practice. Weight and prospective intentions for weight loss were monitored every third month for six years in 761 consecutive patients (≥40 years) newly diagnosed with diabetes in general practices throughout Denmark in 1989-92. Multivariable Cox regression was used to estimate the association between weight change during the monitoring period (year 0 to 6) and the outcomes during the succeeding 13 years (year 6 to 19) in 444 patients who were overweight at diagnosis and alive at the end of the monitoring period (year 6). The analysis was adjusted for age, sex, education, BMI at diagnosis, change in smoking, change in physical activity, change in medication, and the Charlson comorbidity 6-year score. Outcomes were from national registers.


Overall, weight loss regardless of intention was an independent risk factor for increased all-cause mortality (P<0.01). The adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cardiovascular morbidity attributable to an intentional weight loss of 1 kg/year was 1.20 (95%CI 0.97-1.50, P = 0.10), 1.26 (0.93-1.72, P = 0.14), and 1.06 (0.79-1.42, P = 0.71), respectively. Limiting the analysis to include only those patients who survived the first 2 years after the monitoring period did not substantially change these estimates. A non-linear spline estimate indicated a V-like association between weight change and all-cause mortality, suggesting the best prognosis for those who maintained their weight.


In this population-based cohort of overweight patients with type 2 diabetes, successful therapeutic intentional weight loss, supervised by a doctor over six years, was not associated with reduced all-cause mortality or cardiovascular morbidity/mortality during the succeeding 13 years.

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