Metabolic abnormalities have a cumulative effect on development of diabetes, but only central obesity has been defined as the essential criterion of metabolic syndrome (MetS) by the International Diabetes Federation. We hypothesized that central obesity contributes to a higher risk of new-onset diabetes than other metabolic abnormalities in the hypertensive families.
Non-diabetic Chinese were enrolled and MetS components were assessed to establish baseline data in a hypertensive family-based cohort study. Based on medical records and glucose tolerance test (OGTT), the cumulative incidence of diabetes was analyzed in this five-year study by Cox regression models. Contribution of central obesity to development of new-onset diabetes was assessed in subjects with the same number of positive MetS components.
Among the total of 595 subjects who completed the assessment, 125 (21.0%) developed diabetes. Incidence of diabetes increased in direct proportion to the number of positive MetS components (P ≪ 0.001). Although subjects with central obesity had a higher incidence of diabetes than those without (55.7 vs. 30.0 events/1000 person-years, P ≪ 0.001), the difference became non-significant after adjusting of the number of positive MetS components (hazard ratio = 0.72, 95%CI: 0.45-1.13). Furthermore, in all participants with three positive MetS components, there was no difference in the incidence of diabetes between subjects with and without central obesity (hazard ratio = 1.04, 95%CI: 0.50-2.16).
In Chinese hypertensive families, the incidence of diabetes in subjects without central obesity was similar to that in subjects with central obesity when they also had the same number of positive MetS components. We suggest that central obesity is very important, but not the essential component of the metabolic syndrome for predicting of new-onset diabetes. (Trial registration: NCT00260910, ClinicalTrials.gov).