October 24th, 2011
Midlife Obesity Increases Risk for CHD Mortality
Obesity in early adulthood doubles the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality, but this association is eliminated after midlife BMI is factored into the equation, according to a report in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Linsay Gray and colleagues utilized data from the Harvard Alumni Health Study, which included nearly 19,000 men who were undergraduates between 1916 and 1950 and for whom height and weight data were obtained first at school and then in a follow-up questionnaire. Risk of CHD mortality was nearly doubled in men who were obese as undergraduates (HR 1.83, CI 1.21-2.76), but when midlife BMI was included in a multivariate analysis, the predictive role of early obesity was diminished and lost statistical significance (HR 1.21, CI 0.73- 2.02). Being overweight in middle-age was associated with a significant 25% increase in CHD mortality; being obese in middle age was associated with a significant 60% increase in risk.
In an editor’s note, Archives editor Rita Redberg places the study in the context of the “alarming increase in obesity rates” and writes that the study “brings us some reason for hope.” She concludes that “it is never too late to adopt healthy lifestyle changes.”