ATLANTA—How does a diagnosis of diabetes affect weight management among U.S. veterans?

A study in the journal Obesity (Silver Spring) sought to assess weight trends and diabetes prevalence among U.S. veterans.1

Atlanta VAMC researchers and colleagues used Information from the VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure Corporate Data Warehouse to construct data sets that included demographic data, diabetes status and weight observations for both male and female veterans.

Overall, the study included data from 4.5 million patients born from 1915 to 1984 with weight data available during 2000 to 2014. Of those, 36.8% had diabetes.

Results indicated that mean weight at baseline was higher in men and women with diabetes (97 kg and 88 kg, respectively) than in men and women without diabetes (86 kg and 76 kg, respectively).

Yet, researchers found, mean weight increased from 2000 to 2014 (P <0.001) at rates of 0.36 kg/y in women without diabetes, 0.28 kg/y in men with diabetes, 0.25 kg/y in men without diabetes and 0.22 kg/y in women with diabetes.

At the same time, weight decreased in those born before 1940, was stable in those born between 1940 and 1949, and increased in those born since 1950, according to the report.

“Among contemporary veterans, women without diabetes are gaining weight more rapidly than women with diabetes or men,” the study authors cautioned. “Younger veterans are gaining weight more rapidly than older veterans. Further efforts are needed to prevent weight gain in veterans, especially among women.”

Tamas MJ, Khakharia A, Rothenberg RB, Phillips LS. Weight Trends in Veterans With and Without Diabetes, 2000 to 2014. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Dec;26(12):1949-1957. doi: 10.1002/oby.22337. Epub 2018 Nov 12. PubMed PMID: 30417970; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6284820.