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Health risks of being overweight on the heart

Researchers examined the health risks of being overweight in young adults. Specifically, they investigated whether BMI affects cardiovascular measurements such as blood pressure, heart rate, cardiac output, and more.

There are many health risks of being overweight as an adult. Studies have shown that a high body mass index can lead to cardiovascular health issues. Researchers are curious if younger adults experience similar health risks of being overweight.

Published by Circulation,14,541 pregnant women partook in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Once the women’s babies were born, researchers examined 13,988 newborn participants until they were twenty-one years old.

Specific testing and measurements were completed to provide researchers with participants’ lifestyle, biological, and behavioural information. Once participants turned 17 years old,  researchers used Mendelian randomization (MR) to study their data.  At 21 years old, they were examined through RbG methodologies. Sensitivity analyses were also used in this study.

There were no results that showed a high BMI played a role on heart rate. However, findings revealed that a higher BMI results in higher blood pressure and left ventricular mass index (LVMI). LVMI is a measurement of the thickness of the heart’s ventricular walls. Also, a higher BMI plays a contributing role in stroke volume and cardiac output. These results show that a high BMI can impact cardiovascular health in young adults, and could lead to further complications in the future.

It is important to discuss the possible health risks of being overweight, even in young adults. The authors note that maintaining a healthy BMI range can help prevent threatening cardiovascular issues later in life.

Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer

Reference: Wade, Kaitlin H. et al. “Assessing the Causal Role of Body Mass Index on Cardiovascular Health in Young Adults.” Circulation. 2018. 1-15. Online.

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