Overweight teens 'more likely to experience heart failure in middle age'

22 June 2016

People who are overweight during their teenage years are more likely to experience poor heart health in middle age.

This is according to a new study from Sweden's Sahlgrenska Academy, which was published in the European Heart Journal and followed more than 1.6 million Swedish men from adolescence onwards between 1968 and 2005.

It was shown that in men with a body mass index (BMI) of 20 and over, the risk of heart failure increased by 16 per cent with every BMI unit, hitting a nearly ten-fold increased risk ratio in those with a BMI of 35 or over, who were classed as very obese.

The researchers were surprised to find this increased risk of heart failure could be observed in men who were within the normal body weight range - categorised as a BMI score of 18.5 to 25 - in adolescence.

Annika Rosengren, professor of medicine at the Sahlgrenska Academy, said: "Our findings show the importance of body weight in adolescence and suggest that more emphasis should be placed on the maintenance of a healthy body weight from an early age as a preventive measure."

Given that growing numbers of teenagers worldwide are ending up overweight or obese, this suggests heart failure could become a bigger problem in the coming decades.

Posted by Philip Briggs

 


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