Metabolic Health Has Greater Impact on Diabetes than Simple Overweight/Obesity in Mexican Americans

Shenghui Wu, Susan P. Fisher-Hoch, Belinda Reninger, Kristina Vatcheva, Joseph B. McCormick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose. To compare the risk for diabetes in each of 4 categories of metabolic health and BMI. Methods. Participants were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, a randomly selected Mexican American cohort in Texas on the US-Mexico border. Subjects were divided into 4 phenotypes according to metabolic health and BMI: metabolically healthy normal weight, metabolically healthy overweight/obese, metabolically unhealthy normal weight, and metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese. Metabolic health was defined as having less than 2 metabolic abnormalities. Overweight/obese status was assessed by BMI higher than 25 kg/m2. Diabetes was defined by the 2010 ADA definition or by being on a diabetic medication. Results. The odds ratio for diabetes risk was 2.25 in the metabolically healthy overweight/obese phenotype (95% CI 1.34, 3.79), 3.78 (1.57, 9.09) in the metabolically unhealthy normal weight phenotype, and 5.39 (3.16, 9.20) in metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese phenotype after adjusting for confounding factors compared with the metabolically healthy normal weight phenotype. Conclusions. Metabolic health had a greater effect on the increased risk for diabetes than overweight/obesity. Greater focus on metabolic health might be a more effective target for prevention and control of diabetes than emphasis on weight loss alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4094876
JournalJournal of diabetes research
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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