Trajectories of obesity by spousal diabetes status in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

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  • O Silverman-Retana
  • A Hulman
  • R K Simmons
  • J Nielsen, Global Health Section, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Oester Farimagsgade 5, Building 9, Mailbox 2099, 1014, Copenhagen K., Denmark., Emory Global Diabetes Research Center, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Road NE. Room 7040 N Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. Electronic address:, Danmark
  • D R Witte

AIMS: To examine whether the development of obesity with age was different for individuals with and without a spouse with diabetes.

METHODS: We analysed data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing [n= 7123, median (interquartile range) age 59 (53-67) years, 51% men], which included four clinical examination waves between 1998 and 2012. The main exposure was having a spouse with diabetes. Outcomes of interest were BMI and waist circumference. We fitted quadratic age-related trajectories using mixed-effect models stratified by sex and adjusted for education, smoking and the corresponding interaction terms between age and spousal diabetes status.

RESULTS: The baseline spousal diabetes prevalence was 4.4%. Men with a wife with diabetes experienced a steeper increase in BMI (1.6 kg/m2 ) between ages 50 to 65 years than men with a wife without diabetes (0.9 kg/m2 ). Women with a husband with diabetes had a similarly shaped BMI trajectory to women with a husband without diabetes, but their average BMI levels were higher between ages 55 and 65 years. Waist circumference trajectories showed a similar shape by spousal diabetes status for men and women, although individuals with a spouse with diabetes had higher waist circumference values throughout follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: We found a positive association between spousal diabetes status and obesity development, which differed by sex among middle-aged individuals. Evidence from couple-based interventions is needed to test whether the latter could improve the current individual-focused public health strategies for obesity prevention.

TidsskriftDiabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association
Sider (fra-til)105-109
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 2019

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© 2018 Diabetes UK.

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