Spousal cardiometabolic risk factors and incidence of type 2 diabetes: A prospective analysis from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Diabetologia - Clinical and Experimental Diabetes and Metabolism Jun 13, 2018

Nielsen J, et al. - Whether diabetes and cardiometabolic risk factors in one spouse can be used as a gauge of incident type 2 diabetes in the other spouse was examined in this analysis. Sex-specific effect of spousal obesity on the risk of type 2 diabetes was the main finding of this investigation. Having an obese spouse raises the risk of type 2 diabetes over and above the effect of the individual’s own obesity level among men, though not among women. A couples-focused approach could be advantageous for the early identification of type 2 diabetes and people at elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly in men, who were less likely than women to attend health checks.


  • Data from 3,649 men and 3,478 women in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, with information on their own and their spouse’s diabetes status and cardiometabolic risk factors, was analyzed.
  • After that, they modelled incidence rates and incidence rate ratios with Poisson regression, utilizing spousal diabetes status or cardiometabolic risk factors (ie BMI, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic BP, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerols) as exposures and type 2 diabetes occurrence in the index individual as the outcome.
  • Finally, models were adjusted for two nested sets of covariates.


  • According to the findings, spousal BMI and waist circumference were linked with incident type 2 diabetes, but with different patterns for men and women.
  • The data showed a man’s risk of type 2 diabetes increased more steeply with his wife’s obesity level, and the relationship remained statistically significant even after adjustment for the man’s own obesity level.
  • Findings revealed that having a wife with a 5 kg/m2 higher BMI (30 kg/m2 vs 25 kg/m2) was linked with a 21% (95% CI 11%, 33%) increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • The relationship between incident type 2 diabetes in a woman and her husband’s BMI was attenuated after adjusting for the woman’s own obesity level.
  • They reported that findings for waist circumference were comparable to those for BMI.
  • For other risk factors, a statistically significant link was only seen between the risk of type 2 diabetes in women and their husbands’ triacylglycerol levels.
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