Aim The present study evaluated the relative influence of body mass index (BMI) on insulin resistance (IR), first-phase insulin secretion (FPIS), second-phase insulin secretion (SPIS), and glucose effectiveness (GE) at a fixed fasting plasma glucose level in an older ethnic Chinese population. Methods In total, 265 individuals aged 60 years with a fasting plasma glucose level of 5.56 mmol/L were enrolled. Participants had BMIs of 20.0–34.2 kg/m2. IR, FPIS, SPIS, and GE were estimated using our previously developed equations. Pearson correlation analysis was conducted to assess the correlations between the four diabetogenesis factors and BMI. A general linear model was used to determine the differences in the percentage of change among the four factor slopes against BMI. Results Significant correlations were observed between BMI and FPIS, SPIS, IR, and GE in both women and men, which were higher than those reported previously. In men, BMI had the most profound effect on SPIS, followed by IR, FPIS, and GE, whereas in women, the order was slightly different: IR, followed by FPIS, SPIS, and GE. Significant differences were observed among all these slopes, except for the slopes between FPIS and SPIS in women (p = 0.856) and IR and FPIS in men (p = 0.258). Conclusions The contribution of obesity to all diabetes factors, except GE, was higher than that reported previously. BMI had the most profound effect on insulin secretion in men and on IR in women in this 60-year-old cohort, suggesting that lifestyle modifications for obesity reduction in women remain the most important method for improving glucose metabolism and preventing future type 2 diabetes mellitus.
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