Prevalence and risk factors for urinary incontinence in overweight and obese diabetic women: Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE - To determine the prevalence and risk factors for urinary incontinence among different racial/ethnic groups of overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study, a randomized clinical trial with 2,994 overweight/obese women with type 2 diabetes. RESULTS - Weekly incontinence (27%) was reported more often than other diabetes-associated complications, including retinopathy (7.5%), microalbuminuria (2.2%), and neuropathy (1.5%). The prevalence of weekly incontinence was highest among non-Hispanic whites (32%) and lowest among African Americans (18%), and Asians (12%) (P < 0.001). Asian and African American women had lower odds of weekly incontinence compared with non-Hispanic whites (75 and 55% lower, respectively; P < 0.001). Women with a BMI of ≥35 kg/m2 had a higher odds of overall and stress incontinence (55-85% higher; P < 0.03) compared with that for nonobese women. Risk factors for overall incontinence, as well as for stress and urgency incontinence, included prior hysterectomy (40-80% increased risk; P < 0.01) and urinary tract infection in the prior year (55-90% increased risk; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS - Among overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes, urinary incontinence is highly prevalent and far exceeds the prevalence of other diabetes complications. Racial/ethnic differences in incontinence prevalence are similar to those in women without diabetes, affecting non-Hispanic whites more than Asians and African Americans. Increasing obesity (BMI ≥35 kg/m 2) was the strongest modifiable risk factor for overall incontinence and stress incontinence in this diverse cohort. © 2009 by the American Diabetes Association.
  • Published In

  • Diabetes Care  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Phelan S; Kanaya AM; Subak LL; Hogan PE; Espeland MA; Wing RR; Burgio KL; DiLillo V; Gorin AA; West DS
  • Start Page

  • 1391
  • End Page

  • 1397
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 8