Association of changes in body mass index during earlier adulthood and later adulthood with circulating obesity biomarker concentrations in middle-aged men and women

Diabetologia. 2011 Jul;54(7):1676-83. doi: 10.1007/s00125-011-2124-6. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


Aims/hypothesis: The objective of our study was to investigate whether changes in BMI during earlier adulthood are more strongly associated with levels of circulating obesity biomarkers in middle age than are BMI changes during later adulthood.

Methods: The study included 1,612 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam Study. The associations of BMI changes based on recalled BMI for the age ranges 25-40 years (earlier adulthood) and 40-55 years (later adulthood) with later biomarker levels were compared using a linear model, adjusted for BMI at age 25 years and conventional risk factors.

Results: BMI changes during both time periods as well as BMI at age 25 years were significantly associated with circulating levels of adiponectin, γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) in both sexes, and of HbA(1c) in women. However, BMI gain for the age range 25-40 years was significantly more strongly associated with unfavourable levels of adiponectin, hs-CRP, HDL-C and HbA(1c) in men and women, and of GGT and ALT in men (p difference <0.05) than BMI gain for the age range 40-55 years. The percentage change in biomarker levels per unit gain in BMI for the age range 25-40 years ranged from 0.81% (HbA(1c)) to 9.80% (hs-CRP) in men, and from 0.75% (HbA(1c)) to 14.7% (hs-CRP) in women, whereas for the age range 40-55 years, values ranged from -0.15% to 4.82% in men and from 0.25% to 7.06% in women.

Conclusions/interpretation: The results support the hypothesis that an increase in BMI in earlier adulthood is more strongly associated with unfavourable circulating levels of obesity biomarkers later in life than is an increase in BMI in later adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • CD13 Antigens / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • CD13 Antigens