You are at greater risk of heart disease if you were overweight as a teen, compared to those who gained weight later in life. However, it was never clarified if this was because overweight teens become overweight adults OR does being overweight during your teen years cause irreversible damage.
Good news has come out of recent research published in The Archives of Internal Medicine that indicates losing weight mid-life can reduce heart disease risk if you’ve been overweight since your teens.
This research was conducted by Harvard Medial School reviewing data on 19,000 Harvard alumni who entered their freshman year of school between 1916 and 1950. Follow up on these individuals occurred over 82 years and evaluated at habits, heart disease, body mass indexes.
Study results found the heaviest students were most likely to become overweight adults. Obese freshmen men had almost double the risk of dying from heart disease later in life compared to those of normal weight during their college years. Freshmen men who were overweight their freshmen year also had a substantially increased risk of dying from a heart disease.
The good news came when researchers factored in middle age and any change in weight at that time. Men who began college overweight or obese, but lost weight and were considered normal weight in middle age no longer had an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
Researchers found body mass index to be a predictor for heart disease deaths. Being middle age and overweight, increased risk of dying from heart disease 25%, while being obese raised the risk 60%.
This study focused on women, but researchers indicate the findings likely apply to women as well.
Does this mean it is okay to be overweight during your younger years as long as you correct your ways by middle age?
This study just shows that it’s never too late to make healthy diet and lifestyle changes.
You can access the free report “How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Lifelong Habits” at http://hearthealthmadeeasy.com.
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD