Obesity and weight gain have been associated independently with hypertension, hyperinsulinemia, and dyslipidemia; however, prior research has not looked at the relation between weight gain from early adulthood to middle age and the development of this cluster of risk factors, known as insulin resistance syndrome.
The association between weight gain over 30 years (defined as the difference between measured weight in middle age and participant recall of their weight at age 20) and the odds of developing insulin resistance syndrome at middle age was examined in a population-based sample of 2,272 eastern Finnish men.
Each 5% increase in weight over the reported weight at age 20 was associated with nearly a 20% greater risk of insulin resistance syndrome by middle age, after adjustment for age and height. Moreover, there was a strong graded association between categories of weight gain and risk of insulin resistance syndrome. Men with weight increases of 10–19%, 20–29%, or ≥30% since age 20 were 3.0, 4.7, or 10.6 times more likely to have insulin resistance syndrome, respectively, by middle age, compared with men within 10% of their weight at age 20. Adjustments for age, height, physical activity, smoking, education, and parental history of diabetes did not alter these findings.
The odds of having developed the hemodynamic and metabolic abnormalities that characterize insulin resistance syndrome by middle adulthood were increasingly higher the greater the weight gain over the preceding 30 years. This study adds to the literature identifying deleterious effects of weight gain from young to middle adulthood.