(HealthDay News) – Based on the Cuban experience of 1980–2010, population-wide weight loss and regain seem to correlate with the burden of diabetes and heart disease, according to a study published online April 9 in BMJ.

Manuel Franco, MD, PhD, from the University of Alcalá in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues examined the correlation between population-wide weight loss and gain with diabetes prevalence, incidence, and mortality during a 30-year interval in Cuba. Data were analyzed from national surveys, which included 14,304 participants in 1995, 22,851 in 2001, and 8,031 in 2010.

The researchers found that an economic crisis in the mid-1990s was accompanied by rapid declines in diabetes and heart disease, together with an average population-wide weight loss of 5.5kg. In 1995, there was a rebound in population weight (prevalence of overweight and obesity, 33.5%), which exceeded pre-crisis levels by 2010 (52.9% prevalence). The weight increase was accompanied by an immediate increase in diabetes prevalence (116%) and diabetes incidence (140%). Diabetes mortality increased by 49% six years into the weight rebound phase. In addition, there was a decrease in the rate of decline in coronary heart disease-linked mortality.

“In relation to the Cuban experience in 1980–2010, there is an association at the population level between weight reduction and death from diabetes and cardiovascular disease; the opposite effect on the diabetes and cardiovascular burden was seen on population-wide weight gain,” the authors write.

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