Obese Children Who Lose Weight Before Adulthood Can Reduce Risk of Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lise Geisler Bjerregaard PhD

Dr. Geisler Bjerregaard

Lise Geisler Bjerregaard PhD
Postdoc, PhD, M.Sc. Public Health
Center for Klinisk Forskning og Sygdomsforebyggelse/ Center for Clinical Research and Disease Prevention
Sektion for Klinisk Epidemiologi
Frederiksberg Hospital, Frederiksberg

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Being overweight in childhood and early adulthood is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood. We wanted to know whether or not remission of overweight before early adulthood can reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes later in life.

We studied the associations between different combinations of weight status in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, and later development of type 2 diabetes.

We found that men who had been overweight at 7 years of age but normalised weight by age 13 years and were normal weight as young men had similar risks of type 2 diabetes as men who were never overweight. Men who normalised weight between age 13 years and early adulthood had increased risks of type 2 diabetes, but lower risks than men who were overweight at all ages. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Our findings suggest that weight loss from childhood to early adulthood can reduce the increased risks of type 2 diabetes among overweight and obese boys. In particular, boys who lose weight before age 13 years and maintain normal weight until early adulthood will reduce their risk to the same levels as among normal weight.

However, if the boys are still overweight or obese at age 13 years and then lose weight before early adulthood, their risks of later type 2 diabetes will only be partly reduced.Therefore, our results highlight the importance of preventing and treating overweight early in childhood, especially before puberty, as this may greatly reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes later in life. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: It will be important to study whether these results apply to other non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and if they also apply to women.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The study was supported by funding from the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme as part of the DynaHEALTH project, and by the European Research Council.


Change in Overweight from Childhood to Early Adulthood and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Lise G. Bjerregaard, Ph.D., Britt W. Jensen, Ph.D., Lars Ängquist, Ph.D., Merete Osler, D.M.Sc., Thorkild I.A. Sørensen, D.M.Sc., and Jennifer L. Baker, Ph.D.

April 5, 2018
N Engl J Med 2018; 378:1302-1312
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1713231 

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Last Updated on April 5, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD