A new study led by Amir Tirosh of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, has found a possible link between teenage weight and heart disease in adults.
The study looked at the medical history of 37,000 people and determined that the more a person weighed at the age of 17, the more likely they were to develop heart disease in their 30s and 40s – regardless of whether or not the participants grew up to be overweight.
This is clearly a cause for alarm, as researchers had previously thought that adopting a better lifestyle later in life would reduce the risks of heart disease substantially. This was obviously not the case because, as this study proves, cardiovascular disease is more closely linked to a person’s weight during their critical teenage years than it is later on in adulthood.
On the flip side, the study also showed that a person’s weight during their teenage years had little to do with developing diabetes later in life. It was only the people who failed to lose their extra teenage pounds upon reaching adulthood who had a greater risk of developing diabetes.
The study looked at a person’s body mass index (BMI) compared to the risk of heart disease, which was defined as the “narrowing of at least 50 percent in one major artery supplying blood to the heart”. Using this data, the study determined that each point above a BMI of 20.7 resulted in an increased risk of 12 percent for heart disease and 10 percent for diabetes.