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 24 May 2018

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What is the association of weight gain in early adulthood with health outcomes later in life?

This week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association investigates the associations of weight gain from early to middle adulthood with major health outcomes later in life.

News image

Data describing the effects of weight gain across adulthood on overall health are important for weight control.

Dr Yan Zheng and colleagues from Massachussetts, USA examined the association of weight gain from early to middle adulthood with health outcomes later in life.

The researchers performed a cohort analysis of US women from the Nursesí Health Study, and US men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who recalled weight during early adulthood, and reported current weight during middle adulthood.

The team measured weight change from early to middle adulthood.

Beginning at the age of 55 years, participants were followed up to the incident disease outcomes.

Among men who gained a moderate amount of weight, 37%achieved the composite healthy aging outcome
Journal of the American Medical Association

Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death were confirmed by medical records or the National Death Index.

A composite healthy aging outcome was defined as being free of 11 chronic diseases and major cognitive or physical impairment.

The team evaluated a total of 92,837 women, and 25,303 men.

For type 2 diabetes, the adjusted incidence per 100,000 person-years was 207 among women who gained a moderate amount of weight vs 110 among women who maintained a stable weight and 258 vs 147, respectively, among men.

The team observed that for hypertension, the adjusted incidence per 100,000 person years who gained a moderate amount of weight vs those who maintained a stable weight was 3415 vs 2754 among women and 2861 vs 2366 among men.

For cardiovascular disease, the adjusted incidence per 100,000 person years who gained a moderate amount of weight vs those who maintained a stable weight was 309 vs 248 among women and 383 vs 340 among men.

The team noted that the adjusted incidence per 100,000 person years who gained a moderate amount of weight vs those who maintained a stable weight for obesity-related cancer was 452 vs 415 among women and 208 vs 165 among men.

Among those who gained a moderate amount of weight, the researchers found that 24% of women and 37% of men achieved the composite healthy aging outcome.

Among those who maintained a stable weight, 27% of women and 39% of men achieved the composite healthy aging outcome.

The multivariable-adjusted odds ratio for the composite healthy aging outcome associated with moderate weight gain was 0.78 in women, and 0.88 in men.

The researchers observed that  higher amounts of weight gain were associated with greater risks of major chronic diseases and lower likelihood of healthy aging.

Dr Zheng's team comments, "In these cohorts of health professionals, weight gain during adulthood was associated with significantly increased risk of major chronic diseases and decreased odds of healthy aging."

"These findings may help counsel patients regarding the risks of weight gain."

JAMA 2017;318(3):255-269. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.7092
20 July 2017

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