Adolescent obesity and early-onset type 2 diabetes

Gilad Twig*, Inbar Zucker, Arnon Afek, Tali Cukierman-Yaffe, Cole D. Bendor, Estela Derazne, Miri Lutski, Tammy Shohat, Ofri Mosenzon, Dorit Tzur, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, Shmuel Tiosano, Itamar Raz, Hertzel C. Gerstein, Amir Tirosh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasingly diagnosed at younger ages. We investigated the association of adolescent obesity with incident T2D at early adulthood. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A nationwide, population-based study evaluated 1,462,362 adolescents (59% men, mean age 17.4 years) during 1996–2016. Data were linked to the Israeli National Diabetes Registry. Weight and height were measured at study entry. Cox proportional models were applied. RESULTS During 15,810,751 person-years, 2,177 people (69% men) developed T2D (mean age at diagnosis 27 years). There was an interaction among BMI, sex, and incident T2D (Pinteraction = 0.023). In a model adjusted for sociodemographic variables, the hazard ratios for diabetes diagnosis were 1.7 (95% CI 1.4–2.0), 2.8 (2.3–3.5), 5.8 (4.9–6.9), 13.4 (11.5–15.7), and 25.8 (21.0–31.6) among men in the 50th–74th percentile, 75th–84th percentile, overweight, mild obesity, and severe obesity groups, re-spectively, and 2.2 (1.6–2.9), 3.4 (2.5–4.6), 10.6 (8.3–13.6), 21.1 (16.0–27.8), and 44.7 (32.4–61.5), respectively, in women. An inverse graded relationship was observed between baseline BMI and mean age of T2D diagnosis: 27.8 and 25.9 years among men and women with severe obesity, respectively, and 29.5 and 28.5 years among low-normal BMI (5th–49th percentile; reference), respectively. The projected fractions of adult-onset T2D that were attributed to high BMI (≥85th percentile) at adolescence were 56.9% (53.8–59.9%) and 61.1% (56.8–65.2%) in men and women, respectively. CONCLUSIONS Severe obesity significantly increases the risk for incidence of T2D in early adulthood in both sexes. The rise in adolescent severe obesity is likely to increase diabetes incidence in young adults in coming decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487-1495
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


FundersFunder number
Medical Corps Israel Defense Forces


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