Relations of thyroid function to body weight: Cross-sectional and longitudinal observations in a community-based sample

Caroline S. Fox, Michael J. Pencina, Ralph B. D'Agostino, Joanne M. Murabito, Ellen W. Seely, Elizabeth N. Pearce, Ramachandran S. Vasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


Background: Overt hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism maybe associated with weight gain and loss. Weassessed whether variations in thyroid function within the reference (physiologic) range are associated with body weight. Methods: Framingham Offspring Study participants (n=2407) who attended 2 consecutive routine examinations, were not receiving thyroid hormone therapy, and had baseline serum thyrotropin (TSH) concentrations of 0.5 to 5.0 mIU/L and follow-up concentrations of 0.5 to 10.0 mIU/L were included in this study. Baseline TSH concentrations were related to body weight and body weight change during 3.5 years of follow-up. Results: At baseline, adjusted mean weight increased progressively from 64.5 to 70.2 kg in the lowest to highest TSH concentration quartiles in women (P<.001 for trend), and from 82.8 (lowest quartile) to 85.6 kg (highest quartile) in men (P=.007 for trend). During 3.5 years of follow-up, mean (SD) body weight increased by 1.5 (5.6) kg inwomen and 1.0 (5.0) kg in men. Baseline TSH concentrations were not associated with weight change during follow-up. However, an increase in TSH concentration at follow-up was positively associated with weight gain in women (0.5-2.3 kg across increasing quartiles of TSH concentration change; P<.001 for trend) and men (0.4-1.3 kg across quartiles of TSH concentration change; P=.007 for trend). Conclusions: Thyroid function (as assessed by serum TSH concentration) within the reference range is associated with body weight in both sexes. Our findings raise the possibility that modest increases in serum TSH concentrations within the reference range may be associated with weight gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-592
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 24 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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