Insulin resistance is commonly associated with obesity and noninsulin-dependent diabetes. Whereas it predicts the development of diabetes, its effect on body weight change is unknown. We measured glucose disposal rates at submaximally- and maximally-stimulating insulin concentrations in 192 nondiabetic Pima Indians and followed their weight change over 3.5 +/- 1.8 y (mean +/- SD).
Results: (a) Insulin-resistant subjects gained less weight than insulin-sensitive subjects (3.1 vs. 7.6 kg, P less than 0.0001). (b) The percent weight change per year correlated with glucose disposal at submaximally-(r = 0.19, P less than 0.01) and maximally-stimulating (r = 0.34, P less than 0.0001) insulin concentrations independent of sex, age, initial weight, and 24-h energy expenditure; the correlations were stronger for glucose oxidation than for glucose storage. (c) Weight gain was associated with an increase in insulin resistance more than four times that predicted from the cross-sectional data. We conclude that insulin resistance is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain in nondiabetic Pima Indians.