Impact of the dynamic change of metabolic health status on the incident type 2 diabetes: A nationwide population-based cohort study

Jung A. Kim, Da Hye Kim, Seon Mee Kim, Yong Gyu Park, Nan Hee Kim, Sei Hyun Baik, Kyung Mook Choi, Kyungdo Han, Hye Jin Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Metabolically healthy obese (MHO) is regarded as a transient concept. We examined the effect of the dynamic change of metabolic health status on the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) both in obese and normal weight individuals. Methods: We analyzed 3,479,514 metabolically healthy subjects aged over 20 years from the Korean National Health Screening Program, who underwent health examination between 2009 and 2010, with a follow-up after 4 years. The relative risk for T2DM incidence until the December 2017 was compared among the four groups: stable metabolically healthy normal weight (MHNW), unstable MHNW, stable MHO, and unstable MHO. Results: During the 4 years, 11.1% of subjects in the MHNW group, and 31.5% in the MHO group converted to a metabolically unhealthy phenotype. In the multivariate adjusted model, the unstable MHO group showed the highest risk of T2DM (hazard ratio [HR], 4.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.58 to 4.77). The unstable MHNW group had a higher risk of T2DM than stable MHO group ([HR, 3.23; 95% CI, 3.16 to 3.30] vs. [HR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.76 to 1.85]). The stable MHO group showed a higher risk of T2DM than the stable MHNW group. The influence of the transition into a metabolically unhealthy phenotype on T2DM incidence was greater in subjects with aged <65 years, women, and those with weight gain. Conclusion: Metabolically healthy phenotype was transient both in normal weight and obese individuals. Maintaining metabolic health was critical for the prevention of T2DM, irrespective of their baseline body mass index.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-414
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1



  • Diabetes mellitus, type 2
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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