Midlife Weight Gain Raises Risks of Chronic Disease and Premature Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yan Zheng Research Fellow, Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthYan Zheng
Research Fellow, Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Most people gain weight cumulatively during young and middle adulthood. Because the amount of weight gain per year may be relatively small, it may go unnoticed by individuals and their doctors—but the cumulative weight gain during adulthood may eventually lead to obesity over time. Compared to studies of attained body weight or BMI, the investigation of weight change may better capture the effect of excess body fat because it factors in individual differences in frame size and lean mass.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Compared to those who kept their weight stable (not gaining or losing more than 2.5kg), those who gained a moderate amount of weight had an increased risk of major chronic diseases and premature death, and were less likely to score well on a “healthy aging” assessment of physical and cognitive health. In a meta-analysis of men and women, each 5-kg weight gain was associated with 30% increased risk of diabetes, 14% increased risk of hypertension, 8% increased risk of cardiovascular disease, 6% increased risk of obesity-related cancer, 5% increased mortality (never smokers), and 17% decreased odds to achieve healthy aging

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Weight gain during young and middle adulthood may increase subsequent
risk of chronic diseases, premature death, and decrease the likelihood of achieving health aging. Health professionals should counsel patients about the health consequences of
weight gain.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Because our participants were all health professionals and are mostly white, further research in other populations is needed to generalize our findings. It would be very interesting to explore the association of changes in waist circumference, a marker of abdominal adiposity, with risk of chronic disease and mortality for further research.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Associations of Weight Gain From Early to Middle Adulthood With Major Health Outcomes Later in Life,” Yan Zheng, JoAnn E. Manson, Changzheng Yuan, Matthew H. Liang, Francine Grodstein, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett, Frank B. Hu, JAMA, online July 18, 2017, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.7092

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.




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