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Temporal and mediation relations of weight loss, and changes in insulin resistance and blood pressure in response to 2-year weight-loss diet interventions: the POUNDS Lost trial



Body weight and insulin resistance (IR) are closely correlated, and their temporal sequences in affecting blood pressure (BP) remain poorly defined. We examined the temporal sequences of weight loss and IR change, and their relations with BP in the Pounds Lost trial, a randomized weight-loss diet intervention study.


The present study included overweight/obese adults, who were randomized in a 2 × 2 factorial design to low-calorie diets containing 20 or 40% fat and 15 or 25% protein (diets with 65, 55, 45 and 35% carbohydrate). Weight, IR, systolic and diastolic BP levels were measured at baseline, 6 and 24 months. After excluding the subjects who took antihypertensive drugs, cross-lagged path and mediation analyses were performed among 540 participants.


After adjusting for age, race, sex, and diet groups, the cross-lagged path coefficient from baseline weight to 24-month IR (β1 = 0.135, P = 0.04) was significantly greater than the path coefficient (β2 = 0.022, P > 0.05) from baseline IR to 24-month weight (P < 0.05 for the difference in βs), indicating that weight-loss preceded change of IR. The mediation effects of 24-month IR on the 24-month systolic BP and diastolic BP were estimated at 20.94% (P = 0.004) and 17.03% (P = 0.034), respectively.


Our data indicate that weight loss precedes change of IR, which mediates a significant proportion of the effects of weight loss on changes of BP in response to the diet interventions.

Trial registration

NCT00072995 First Posted November 17, 2003 Last Update Posted January 30, 2013 this study was not ‘retrospectively registered’.

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The study was supported by grants from the Innovative Talent Support Plan of the Medical and Health Technology Project in Zhejiang Province (2021422878), Ningbo Science and Technology Project (202002N3152),Ningbo Health Branding Subject Fund (PPXK2018-02), Sanming Project of Medicine in Shenzhen (SZSM201803080).

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Correspondence to Lu Qi.

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Han, L., Zhang, T., You, D. et al. Temporal and mediation relations of weight loss, and changes in insulin resistance and blood pressure in response to 2-year weight-loss diet interventions: the POUNDS Lost trial. Eur J Nutr 61, 269–275 (2022).

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  • Body weight
  • Insulin resistance
  • Blood pressure
  • Overweight adults
  • Obese adult