Obesity in your adolescence is linked to increased risk of developing heart disease in early adulthood, regardless of ethnicity, warns a new study. The study was published in British Medical Journal Open.
“Previous studies that tracked growth from childhood, are mainly of White Europeans, with few varying in ethnicity,” said lead author Seeromanie Harding from King’s College London.
“In this study, we found that being overweight in early adolescence adversely affects cardiovascular health in your 20s, regardless of gender or ethnicity. As physical peak is generally reached in your 20s, we urgently need to look at ways to prevent a diminishing ‘peak’ of health in the upcoming generation of teenagers, who will also face an economic recession, known to detrimentally affect their well-being.”
The team of researchers wanted to track obesity levels and test the impact on cardiovascular health from adolescence into early adulthood, to see if there are ethnic differences in level of risk.
They examined an ethnically diverse group of children first seen at age 11-13 and again at the age 21-23.
They found that from adolescence while Black Caribbeans and Black Africans were more likely to be overweight/obese than their white UK peers, the risk of developing heart disease correlated to obesity in early adolescence regardless of ethnicity and gender.
In the study, the authors also suggest that a susceptibility to obesity for ethnic minorities, may be due to an acceleration in growth from a young age.
Black Caribbean babies are known to be about 150 g lighter than their white British peers, but by age three they are about one kg heavier and two cm taller.