WEDNESDAY, June 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Adolescent body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for poor health outcomes in adults, regardless of adult BMI, according to a research letter published online June 21 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Jason M. Nagata, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues examined the prospective association between adolescent BMI and health outcomes 24 years later using data from Wave I (1994 to 1995; ages 11 to 18 years) and Wave V (2016 to 2018; ages 33 to 43 years) of the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Data were included for 12,300 adolescents followed through adulthood.

The researchers found that each one-unit higher BMI z-score in adolescence correlated with a higher adult BMI at follow-up of 4.17 kg/m2. There was a prospective association for adolescent BMI z-score with overall poor self-reported general health at follow-up (adjusted odds ratio, 1.49) as well as subsequent diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, premature myocardial infarction, premature heart failure, asthma, cancer, and obstructive sleep apnea after adjustment for demographic and behavioral covariates (adjusted odds ratios, 2.35, 1.55, 1.24, 1.77, 1.81, 1.12, 1.18, and 1.64, respectively). Adolescent BMI z-score was independently associated with poor general health, diabetes, and premature myocardial infarction in adulthood after adjustment for adult BMI.

“These findings provide additional support for cardiovascular disease prevention and intervention efforts for adolescents, such as physical activity classes and healthy meal options at schools,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to RTW Investments.

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