Obese to Nonobese BMI Change Lowers Cardiovascular Risk

Change from obese childhood to nonobese adults versus persisting high BMI cuts cardiovascular risk

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who are overweight or obese in childhood and nonobese as adults have a cardiovascular-risk profile similar to those who were never obese, according to a study published in the Nov. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Markus Juonala, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Turku in Finland, and colleagues investigated whether a change from overweight or obesity during childhood to a nonobese body mass index (BMI) in adulthood reduced the cardiovascular risk associated with childhood obesity. Data were analyzed from 6,328 participants from four prospective cohort studies, who were followed for an average of 23 years. High adiposity status was defined using international age- and gender-specific BMI cutoff points for children, and a BMI cutoff point of 30 for adults.

The investigators found that, compared to individuals with normal childhood BMI and no obesity as adults, those who had consistently high adiposity status from childhood to adulthood were at a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes (relative risk [RR], 5.4), hypertension (RR, 2.7), reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (RR, 2.1), higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (RR, 1.8) and higher triglyceride levels (RR, 3.0), and increased carotid artery intima-media thickness (RR, 1.7). The risks of these outcomes were similar between individuals who were overweight or obese as children but were nonobese as adults and for those who had a normal BMI consistently from childhood to adulthood (P > 0.20 for all comparisons).

"Our data confirm both the increase in cardiovascular risk associated with childhood overweight or obesity and the tracking of adiposity between childhood and adulthood," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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