Physical Activity and Blood Glucose Effects on Weight Gain Over 12 Years in Middle-Aged Adults

Erin I. Walsh, Richard Burns, Walter P. Abhayaratna, Kaarin J. Anstey and Nicolas Cherbuin


Background: While high body weight and low levels of physical activity are established risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the associations between these risk factors and blood glucose levels in adults without diabetes are not well understood. We evaluated these associations in a cohort of adults studied over twelve years in a population-based sample.
Methods: Participants were 716 older adults from the Personality and Total Health (PATH) cohort study, followed over twelve years (2001-2013). Physical activity, height and weight were measured and converted to quartiles of metabolic equivalents (METs) and body mass index (BMI). Blood glucose (mmol/L) was obtained from venous blood samples. Mixed effects models were used to investigate the longitudinal association between METs, blood glucose, and BMI.
Results: Blood glucose was significantly associated with BMI (an increase of 1 mmol/L in glucose was associated with 0.33 additional unit increase in BMI). Higher METs were associated with less weight gain. A significant interaction between METs and blood glucose suggests that the most physically active participants were somewhat protected from the blood glucose/BMI association.
Conclusion: We conclude that blood glucose is associated with body weight even at non-clinical levels. This has implications for public health and prevention strategies targeting obesity, as it indicates that relationships between blood glucose, physical activity and body weight characterised in T2D diagnosis can be found in sub-clinical populations.

Published on: April 25, 2018
doi: 10.17756/jocd.2018-014
Citation: Walsh EI, Burns R, Abhayaratna WP, Anstey KJ, Cherbuin N. 2018. Physical Activity and Blood Glucose Effects on Weight Gain Over 12 Years in Middle-Aged Adults. J Obes Chronic Dis 2(1): 20-25.