Although weight gain and obesity are risk factors for poor glucose regulation, the relationship, if any, of glucose regulation to changes in weight is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of research examining the relationship of glucose regulation to changes in weight in human-based studies and to provide guidelines for future research in this area. We searched electronic databases and reference sections of relevant articles, including both diabetic and non-diabetic populations, to locate all the literature published before February 2010, and then conducted a systematic review across studies to compare the research designs and findings. The 22 studies meeting our criteria for review generally supported the relationship of glucose regulation to changes in weight. Three studies reported that poor glucose regulation is associated with weight gain; 12 studies concluded that poor glucose regulation is associated with weight loss; 5 showed complex relationships depending on age, sex, or race/ethnicity; and 2 suggested no relationship. The diverse findings may imply that the direction (negative or positive) of the relationship may depend on specific conditions. More research focused on different subpopulations may provide more definitive information supplemental to the current preliminary findings. Recommendations regarding future research in this particular area are provided in the discussion.
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