Weight variability and cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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The association between body weight variability and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been investigated previously with mixed findings. However, there has been no extensive study which systematically evaluates the current evidence. Furthermore, the impact of ethnicity and type 2 diabetes on this phenomena has not yet been investigated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the effect of weight variability on risk of CVD (any cardiovascular (CV) event, composite CV outcome, CV death, Stroke, Myocardial Infarction) and the influence of ethnicity and type 2 diabetes status on the observed association. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed according to the meta-analyses of observational studies in epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines. The electronic databases PubMed, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched for studies that investigated the relationship between body weight or BMI variability and CV diseases using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms and keywords. The relative risks (RRs) for the outcomes were collected from studies, pooled, and analysed using a random-effects model to estimate the overall relative risk. Of 5645 articles screened, 23 studies with a total population of 15,382,537 fulfilled the prespecified criteria and were included. Individuals in the highest strata of body weight variability were found to have significantly increased risk of any CV event (RR = 1.27; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.17 – 1.38; P < 0.0001; I2 = 97.28%), cardiovascular death (RR = 1.29; 95% CI 1.03 – 1.60; P < 0.0001; I2 = 55.16%), myocardial infarction (RR = 1.32; 95% CI 1.09 – 1.59; P = 0.0037; I2 = 97.14%), stroke (RR = 1.21; 95% CI 1.19 – 1.24; P < 0.0001; I2 = 0.06%), and compound CVD outcomes (RR = 1.36; 95% CI 1.08 – 1.73; P = 0.01; I2 = 92.41%). Similar RRs were observed regarding BMI variability and per unit standard deviation (SD) increase in body weight variability. Comparable effects were seen in people with and without diabetes, in White Europeans and Asians. In conclusion, body weight variability is associated with increased risk of CV diseases regardless of ethnicity or diabetes status. Future research is needed to prove a causative link between weight variability and CVD risk, as appropriate interventions to maintain stable weight could positively influence CVD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages12
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2023


  • Weight Variability
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Meta-analysis
  • Weight variability
  • Type II diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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