High BMI and the risk for incident type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregated cohort studies

Maya Nitecki, Hertzel C. Gerstein, Yulia Balmakov, Eyal Tsur, Vladislav Babushkin, Tomer Michaeli, Arnon Afek, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, Tali Cukierman-Yaffe, Gilad Twig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is uncertainty regarding the role of obesity in type 1 diabetes development. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to collect and synthesize evidence regarding BMI and the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to assess the association between BMI and incident type 1 diabetes. Databases were searched up to June 2022. Cohort studies were included reporting the association between overweight and/or obesity, as measured by BMI after age 2 years, with incident type 1 diabetes. Independent reviewers extracted data and assessed study quality. Risk estimates were pooled using a random-effects model. Results: Ten cohort studies met the inclusion criteria. The seven studies that classified BMI into categories were of high quality and involved 1,690,660 individuals and 1979 incident type 1 diabetes cases. The pooled risk ratio (RR) for type 1 diabetes was 1.35 (95% CI 0.93–1.97) among people with overweight (3 studies); 2.17 (95% CI 1.75–2.69) among people with obesity (5 studies); and 1·87 (95% CI 1.52–2.29) among people with overweight/obesity (two studies merged the categories). These point estimates persisted in sensitivity analyses that addressed the duration of follow-up, variability in baseline risk for incident type 1 diabetes, and potential misclassifications related to exposure or outcome definitions. People with overweight/obesity had a 2.55 (95% CI 1.11–5.86) greater risk for incident type 1 diabetes with positive islet autoantibodies. Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis of high-quality observational cohort studies indicated an association between high BMI and the risk of type 1 diabetes, in a graded manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number300
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Cohort studies
  • Meta-analysis
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 diabetes


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