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May 06, 2014 10:00 AM EDT

Obesity at Young Age Leads to Severe Weight Problems Later In Life, Study

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People, who are obese at 25, are more likely to suffer from severe weight problems over 35 years of age, according to a City University of New York and University of Wyoming study.

Researchers found that present weight, rather than the duration of obesity, is a better indicator of cardiovascular and metabolic risk. They further said that losing weight during any stage of life helps lower health risks, despite duration of the obesity.

"The current findings suggest that the biological risks of longer-term obesity are primarily due to the risk of more severe obesity later in life among those obese early in life, rather than the impact of long-term obesity per se," Associate Professor Jennifer Dowd at the School of Public Health, said in a press release.

"This is good news in some respects, as overweight and obese young adults who can prevent additional weight gain can expect their biological risk factors to be no worse than those who reach the same level of BMI later in life."

For the study, the researchers analysed data from the 1999 to 2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The researchers found that men who were obese at age 25, were 23.1 percent more likely to be morbidly obese (classified as class III obesity with a BMI greater than 40) after age 35. On the other hand, people, who were associated with normal weight at age 25, only had a 1.1 per cent possibility of serious obesity after age 35.

The findings were more dramatic for women. Obese women at 25 had 46.9 percent chance of suffering from class III obesity, while it was just 4.8 per cent for those of normal weight.

The scientists said that people, who face heightened risk of severe obesity later in life, are more vulnerable to complications like hypertension, inflammation, and diabetes. Long-term obesity is also known to play a role in other chronic conditions.

"Duration of obesity may still have important implications for mobility and musculoskeletal disease, research questions that should be investigated. Prevention of weight gain at all ages should thus be a clinical and public health priority," Assistant Professor Anna Zajacova, of the University of Wyoming, said.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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