Characterizing the weight-glycemia phenotypes of type 1 diabetes in youth and young adulthood

Anna R. Kahkoska, Crystal T. Nguyen, Xiaotong Jiang, Linda A. Adair, Shivani Agarwal, Allison E. Aiello, Kyle S. Burger, John B. Buse, Dana Dabelea, Lawrence M. Dolan, Giuseppina Imperatore, Jean Marie Lawrence, Santica Marcovina, Catherine Pihoker, Beth A. Reboussin, Katherine A. Sauder, Michael R. Kosorok, Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction Individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) present with diverse body weight status and degrees of glycemic control, which may warrant different treatment approaches. We sought to identify subgroups sharing phenotypes based on both weight and glycemia and compare characteristics across subgroups. Research design and methods Participants: with T1D in the SEARCH study cohort (n=1817, 6.0-30.4 years) were seen at a follow-up visit >5 years after diagnosis. Hierarchical agglomerative clustering was used to group participants based on five measures summarizing the joint distribution of body mass index z-score (BMIz) and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) which were estimated by reinforcement learning tree predictions from 28 covariates. Interpretation of cluster weight status and glycemic control was based on mean BMIz and HbA1c, respectively. Results: The sample was 49.5% female and 55.5% non-Hispanic white (NHW); mean±SD age=17.6±4.5 years, T1D duration=7.8±1.9 years, BMIz=0.61±0.94, and HbA1c=76±21 mmol/mol (9.1±1.9)%. Six weight-glycemia clusters were identified, including four normal weight, one overweight, and one subgroup with obesity. No cluster had a mean HbA1c <58 mmol/mol (7.5%). Cluster 1 (34.0%) was normal weight with the lowest HbA1c and comprised 85% NHW participants with the highest socioeconomic position, insulin pump use, dietary quality, and physical activity. Subgroups with very poor glycemic control (ie, ≥108 mmol/mol (≥12.0%); cluster 4, 4.4%, and cluster 5, 7.5%) and obesity (cluster 6, 15.4%) had a lower proportion of NHW youth, lower socioeconomic position, and reported decreased pump use and poorer health behaviors (overall p<0.01). The overweight subgroup with very poor glycemic control (cluster 5) showed the highest lipids and blood pressure (p<0.01). Conclusions: There are distinct subgroups of youth and young adults with T1D that share weight-glycemia phenotypes. Subgroups may benefit from tailored interventions addressing differences in clinical care, health behaviors, and underlying health inequity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000886
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 28 2020


  • clusters
  • obesity
  • pediatric Type 1 diabetes
  • phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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