July 1, 2021 – Adolescents with obesity were more likely than their thinner peers to have a heart attack, type 2 diabetes or poor health (self-reported) when they were in their 30s and 40s, according to a new study.
Previous studies have reported worse health outcomes in the elderly, but this is one of the first to look at the risk in young adults.
Teens with obesity were also more likely than other adolescents to be still obese 24 years later, as well as high cholesterol, arterial hypertension, kidney disease, heart failure, Cancer, asthma and Sleep Apnea.
The results come from a large American study that examined how obesity at the age of 11 to 18 affects health at the age of 33 to 43 years.
The results show that “adolescence is an important period to prevent the future Diabetes and heart attack, ”says lead author Jason M. Nagata, MD.
“Parents should encourage adolescents to adopt healthy behaviors such as physical activity and [eating] balanced meals, ”says Nagata, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
“Teens need to know that being active, joining sports teams and being physically active with friends,” is important, he says.
Pediatricians can also help guide and help teens and their families develop healthy habits, and doctors should ask young adults about their weight history when assessing their risk for heart disease.
But Nagata, who also treats adolescents with eating disorders, states that “while I think it is important to adopt healthy behaviors, such as a balanced diet and regular physical activity, I would discourage teens from trying more extreme or messy eating behaviors to lose weight. “
Other studies have shown that “when you use some of these distorted eating behaviors, [including crash diets], people actually tend to put on more weight in the long run, ”he says.
The study was published online on June 21 as a research letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.