Overweight young people can avoid diabetes risk if they lose weight early enough, says new research

January 5, 2016

Obese young people can still turn their chances of developing life threatening illness around if they change before middle age, says new research.

The study looked at the (BMI) of people when they were young and compared it to when they were middle aged to see whether it affected their risk of , stroke or .

Men who had high BMI levels at 21, but had lowered their BMI by the time they were 50, had similar or lower rates of diabetes as people who were normal weight when younger, the results showed.

In a unique approach, the study used the records of men's military service, which recorded their BMI at 21, as well as participant recall and followed up with them 30 years later.

Lead research Professor Christopher Owen from St George's University of London said the effects of high BMI early in life may be reversible.

"Even in men who carried out UK National Service and were relatively thin in early life compared to more recent men, higher levels of fatness in early adult life appear to be associated with later diabetes," he said.

"However, effects of early appear to be reversible by subsequent weight loss. These findings have important implications for Type 2 , especially in more recent adults with high levels of obesity."

But the study, which examined almost 5000 men, found that a higher BMI earlier in life did not impact on the risk of heart attack or stroke.

However, who were obese when they were 50 had increased chances of suffering a heart attack, stroke or diabetes.

Obesity is the biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes and over 4 million people in the UK are at high risk of developing the condition.

Explore further: Obesity in early 20s curbs chances of reaching middle age

More information: Christopher G Owen et al. Body mass index in early and middle adult life: prospective associations with myocardial infarction, stroke and diabetes over a 30-year period: the British Regional Heart Study, BMJ Open (2015). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008105

Related Stories

Obesity in early 20s curbs chances of reaching middle age

April 29, 2013
Young men who are obese in their early 20s are significantly more likely to develop serious ill health by the time they reach middle age, or not even make it that far, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ ...

Diabetic women face higher risk of stroke

March 7, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A review of more than 60 studies has shown that women with diabetes have a 27 per cent higher risk of stroke than men with diabetes.

A high BMI could reduce men's risk of rheumatoid arthritis, but not women's

September 8, 2015
A high body mass index (BMI) could reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in men, according to a study published today in Rheumatology.

Weight-loss surgery cuts risk of developing serious heart problems

December 22, 2015
Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery can reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart attacks and type 2 diabetes, as well improve existing conditions, according to a new study published in PLOS Medicine.

Overweight, obesity early in life increase risk of cardiac death

November 25, 2015
Overweight and obesity throughout adulthood, and especially elevated weight in early adulthood, were associated with increased risk of sudden cardiac death in a 32-year study of more than 72,000 women published today in JACC: ...

Men develop diabetes at lower BMIs than women

October 3, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Men develop type 2 diabetes at a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than women, according to new research by clinical academics at the University of Glasgow.

Recommended for you

Are sugary drink interventions changing people's behaviour?

July 19, 2017
An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people's habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

Young adult obesity: A neglected, yet essential focus to reverse the obesity epidemic

July 18, 2017
The overall burden of the U.S. obesity epidemic continues to require new thinking. Prevention of obesity in young adults, while largely ignored as a target for prevention and study, will be critical to reversing the epidemic, ...

Weight gain from early to middle adulthood may increase risk of major chronic diseases

July 18, 2017
Cumulative weight gain over the course of early and middle adulthood may increase health risks later in life, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They found that, compared ...

Study finds children carry implicit bias towards peers who are overweight

June 23, 2017
Even children as young as 9 years old can carry a prejudice against their peers who are overweight, according to a new study led by Duke Health researchers. They might not even realize they feel this way.

Mother's obesity boosts risk for major birth defects: study

June 15, 2017
Children of obese women are more likely to be afflicted by major birth defects, including malformations of the heart and genitals, according to a study published on Thursday.

New study finds more than 2 billion people overweight or obese

June 12, 2017
Globally, more than 2 billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions, according to a new study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.