Objective: This study examined the epidemiology of worry about weight among adults with diabetes and whether this weight worry was associated with worse quality of life and diabetes self-management.
Research design and methods: Participants were 5088 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes from the multi-national DAWN study. Random samples of approximately 500 were obtained from each of 11 countries/regions in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. All measures were self-reported data obtained during structured interviews. High weight worry was represented by the highest level of agreement with the statement 'I feel very anxious about my weight.'
Results: One-quarter (25.1%) of respondents reported high weight worry. Using multivariate logistic regression to assess independent relationships, high weight worry was significantly (p < 0.05) more common among respondents who were women, less educated, had type 2 diabetes and more comorbidities, were diagnosed more recently and reported weight gain with diabetes. Using multivariate logistic regression to control for confounding factors, high weight worry was significantly (p < 0.05) associated with most of the adverse outcomes examined, including lower self-rated health, poorer reported regimen adherence and diabetes control, more diabetes-related distress, poorer psychological well-being, and more psychological treatment.
Limitations: The cross-sectional, correlational analysis could not assess causal relationships among patient reported outcomes, and the study did not include objective outcome measures.
Conclusions: High weight worry was common among adults with diabetes and associated with several adverse outcomes, including multiple indicators of diabetes-related distress, poor physical and psychological well-being, and regimen non-adherence. These findings suggest that healthcare providers should assess and address weight worry among their patients with diabetes.