Research shows that an elevated body mass index (BMI) at age 17, even one within what is considered normal, may be predictive of coronary heart disease in adulthood.
A large cohort study, led by Amir Tirosh (Sheba Tel-Hashomer Hospital's Talpiot program and Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School) and Iris Shai and Assaf Rudich from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, followed 37,000 teenagers for 17 years and found that an elevated, yet normal range Body Mass Index (BMI) constitutes a substantial risk factor for obesity-related disorders in young adults (age 30-40).
The study showed that elevated BMI in adolescence has distinctive relationships with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease in young adulthood.
Researchers showed that diabetes is influenced mainly by recent BMI and weight gain. However, for coronary heart disease, both elevated BMI in adolescence and recent BMI are independent risk factors.
The natural progression of coronary heart disease is probably the consequence of gradually increasing atherosclerosis during adolescence and early adulthood.
The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.