In the US, one of every three adults are considered overweight or obese, and one in six children are considered obese. Health conditions commonly associated with overweight and obesity include heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is estimated that the medical costs in 2008 to treat obesity and related conditions was over $147 billion dollars. [1,2]
Using data from the well-known Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health assessed the effects of weight gain in early adulthood, weight gain later in life, and the associations with disease development.
Zheng and colleagues, asked participants by questionnaires, to recall their weight between ages 18-21, and then report their weight at middle adult hood (55 years old). Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death were tracked by patient health records. After statistical analysis, it was seen that participating health professionals who gained weight from early adult to middle adulthood had a significantly increased risk for developing chronic health conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease (P < .001).
Why is this Clinically Relevant?
- Physicians should recommend healthy lifestyle choices and exercise to patients as young as 18 to lower risk of CVD
- Monitoring the impact of weight gain on overall health during early adulthood is important to lower risk of weight gain later in life
 Overweight & Obesity Statistics. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity. Published August 1, 2017. Accessed September 12, 2017.
 Overweight & Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html. Published August 29, 2017. Accessed September 12, 2017.