Obesity and family history of diabetes are both risk factors for non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), but it has been proposed that lean individuals with NIDDM have a greater load of diabetes susceptibility genes. If this is the case, one might expect a high prevalence of NIDDM in relatives of diabetic individuals with a low body mass index (BMI). Among Pima Indians participating in an epidemiological study, prevalence of NIDDM was evaluated in relation to BMI of a diabetic parent or to the average parental BMI when both parents had diabetes in 1,535 offspring from 547 families. Prevalence of NIDDM was also evaluated in relation to BMI of a randomly selected index diabetic sibling in 1,722 siblings from 721 families. NIDDM was diagnosed by an oral glucose tolerance test. Compared with offspring of diabetic parent(s) at the 25th percentile of BMI, the odds ratio (OR) for diabetes in offspring of diabetic parents at the 75th percentile was 0.6 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.5–0.7), adjusted for age, sex, BMI in offspring, number of diabetic parents, and age at onset of diabetes and sex of the diabetic parent(s). In the analysis according to BMI in a diabetic sibling, the corresponding OR was 0.8 (95% CI 0.6–0.9). Risk ratios were only modestly higher when the analysis was restricted to relatives of subjects whose BMI had been determined before the onset of diabetes. NIDDM in the presence of a low BMI is more strongly familial than that at a higher BMI. inants of diabetes is present in leaner diabetic people, and it suggests that these determinants are largely separate from those that result in familial aggregation of obesity.

This content is only available via PDF.