Insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion determined by homeostasis model assessment and risk of diabetes in a multiethnic cohort of women: The women's health initiative observational study

Yiqing Song, Joann E. Manson, Lesley Tinker, Barbara V. Howard, Lewis H. Kuller, Lauren Nathan, Nader Rifai, Simin Liu

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187 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - The homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), based on plasma levels of fasting glucose and insulin, has been widely validated and applied for quantifying insulin resistance and β-cell function. However, prospective data regarding its relation to diabetes risk in ethnically diverse populations are limited. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Among 82,069 women who were aged 50-79 years, free of cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and participating in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, we conducted a nested case-control study to prospectively examine the relations of HOMA of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and β-cell function (HOMA-B) with diabetes risk. During a median follow-up period of 5.9 years, 1,584 diabetic patients were matched with 2,198 control subjects by age, ethnicity, clinical center, time of blood draw, and follow-up time. RESULTS - Baseline levels of fasting glucose, insulin, and HOMA-IR were each significantly higher among case compared with control subjects, while HOMA-B was lower (all P values <0.0001). After adjustment for matching factors and diabetes risk factors, all four markers were significantly associated with diabetes risk; the estimated relative risks per SD increment were 3.54 (95% CI 3.02-4.13) for fasting glucose, 2.25 (1.99-2.54) for fasting insulin, 3.40 (2.95-3.92) for HOMA-IR, and 0.57(0.51-0.63) for HOMA-B. While no statistically significant multiplicative interactions were observed between these markers and ethnicity, the associations of both HOMA-IR and HOMA-B with diabetes risk remained significant and robust in each ethnic group, including whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders. When evaluated jointly, the relations of HOMA-IR and HOMA-B with diabetes risk appeared to be independent and additive. HOMA-IR was more strongly associated with an increased risk than were other markers after we excluded those with fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dl at baseline. CONCLUSIONS - High HOMA-IR and low HOMA-B were independently and consistently associated with an increased diabetes risk in a multiethnic cohort of U.S. postmenopausal women. These data suggest the value of HOMA indexes for diabetes risk in epidemiologic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1747-1752
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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