Piling on kilos during puberty increases the risk of dying early

A jump of 7 BMI units in puberty leaves boys at risk of dying early from heart disease due to obesity

Pic Courtesy: Getty Images
Pic courtesy: Getty Images

Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading killer and is linked to obesity. Putting on lots of weight during puberty increases the risk of death from heart attacks or a stroke later in life, new research suggests.

A jump of just seven body mass index (BMI) units during the developmental phase leaves young boys, in particular, vulnerable later in life.

After this jump, the risk of dying early from cardiovascular disease – the planet’s leading killer – increased by 22 per cent for each extra unit.

However, there was no link between children who had no significant changes during puberty but were overweight before it started.

Experts say BMI should be monitored more closely in school children to determine those at high risk of heart disease in the future – allowing preventative measures to be put in place.

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, alongside high blood pressure, smoking and a lack of exercise.

But this study by Swedish researchers was the first to evaluate the link between an increase in BMI during puberty on the risk of death from heart disease.

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg assessed more than 37,600 men born between 1945-61.

Their height and weight were recorded from school health care records and compulsory military service tests.

The change in BMI during puberty was calculated using indicators at eight and 20 years old.

Their height and weight were recorded from school health care records and compulsory military service tests.

The change in BMI during puberty was calculated using indicators at eight and 20 years old.

Increased cardiovascular mortality was seen in boys with a large increase in BMI during puberty, they found.

Despite BMI increases being considered a normal part of development in children, risk was increased when youngsters jumped seven units during puberty.

Lead researcher Jenny Kindblom said: ‘In this study, we show that a large increase in BMI during puberty is particularly important, while high BMI at age eight is not linked to increased risk of cardiovascular death.

Professor Claes Ohlsson, who was also involved in the study, said: ‘Our data suggest that BMI should be monitored in schoolchildren extra closely during puberty for the early identification of individuals at high risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease in the future.’

Cardiovascular disease is believed to be the leading cause of death worldwide, with one in three deaths occurring as a result of heart attacks, stroke or general disease.

However vast improvements in the prevention and treatment of heart conditions have seen cardiovascular deaths plummet in recent years.

Just earlier this year it was found that cancer had overtaken cardiovascular disease to be the leading cause of death among women in the UK.

Why statins really do work

High dose statins slash the risk of dying by 30 per cent compared to normal pills, a major study found yesterday.

US researchers say there is a ‘substantial opportunity’ to prevent more deaths through wider use of stronger pills.

The majority of patients on statins take dose of between 5 to 40 micrograms a day, depending on the type of tablet.

But this study, involving half a million adults, looked at patients had been prescribed dosages of up to 80 mg daily.

Source: Daily Mail UK