In a latest study by researchers at the City University of New York School of Public Health, Hunter College, USA, it has been found that people who are obese by 25 have a much higher risk of more severe obesity after the age of 35.

Using date from the 1999-2010 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the researchers studied the relationship between body mass index (BMI) at age 25 and obesity at a later age. Jennifer B. Dowd, associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the City University found out that biological risks of longer-term obesity are primarily due to the risk of more severe obesity later in life if the individuals were obese early in life, and not necessarily the impact of long-term obesity as it is. Their study showed that 25-year-old men who were obese had a 23.1% probability of class III obesity after age 35. In comparison, men with normal weight at age 25, had only a only 1.1% chance of severe obesity after age 35. Class III obesity means that the individual has a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40.

What is more alarming is that young obese women had an even greater chance of severe obesity after age 35. Obese 25-year old women had a 46.9% chance of severe obesity in later life, compared with 4.8% for normal-weight women of the same age. It is well known that heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and certain specific cancers are related to obesity in both men and women.

The good news - losing weight at any stage of life could reduce cardiovascular and metabolic risks, regardless of how long an individual has been obese or overweight. However, Anna Zajacova, assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Wyoming and study co-author says that the overall duration of obesity may still have important implications for mobility and musculoskeletal disease and these questions still need to be investigated. Nevertheless, the researchers have emphasised that prevention of weight gain at all ages should be a clinical and public health priority.

Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine news release