Context Prior studies have shown a cross-sectional association between body mass index (BMI) and salivary diurnal cortisol profile features (cortisol features); however, to our knowledge prior population-based studies have not examined the longitudinal association of body-mass index (BMI) with cortisol features. Objective To examine the association of (1) prior annual BMI percent change over 7 years with cortisol features, (2) baseline cortisol features with subsequent change in BMI over 6 years and (3) the association of change in cortisol features with change in BMI over 6 years. Design Longitudinal study. Setting Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Stress I & II Studies (2004–2006 & 2010–2012). Participants 1685 ethnically diverse men and women attended either MESA Stress exam (mean age 65 ± 10 years at MESA Stress I; mean age 69 ± 9 years at MESA Stress II). Outcome Measures Log-transformed cortisol features including wake-up cortisol, cortisol awakening response, early decline slope (30 min to 2 h post-awakening), late decline slope (2 h post-awakening to bedtime), bedtime, and total area under the curve (AUC) cortisol. Results Over 7 years, following multivariable adjustment, (1) a 1% higher prior annual BMI % increase was associated with a 2.9% (95% CI: − 5.0%, − 0.8%) and 3.0% (95% CI: − 4.7%, − 1.4%) lower current wake-up and total AUC cortisol, respectively; (2) there was no significant association between baseline cortisol features and subsequent change in BMI and (3) among participants with BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, flattening of the late decline slope was associated with increases in BMI (every 1-unit increase late decline slope were associated with a 12.9% increase (95%CI: − 1%, 26.8%) in BMI, respectively). Conclusions We found a significant association between prior annual BMI % change and cortisol features, but no significant association between baseline cortisol features and subsequent change in BMI. In participants with obesity increases in BMI were associated with less pronounced declined. Collectively, our results suggest that greater adiposity may lead to a blunted diurnal cortisol profile.
- Body mass index
- Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal axis
- Waist circumference
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism