People who are obese during their young adulthood are likely to die earlier than people who are slim, reveals research.
"Young adults are so much heavier now than they were 20 years ago," said June Stevens, Ph.D., nutrition and epidemiology professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and lead author of the study.
"Our results really make me concerned that getting heavy early in life could translate into a shorter lifespan for many Americans," she stated.
The risk of dying was 21 percent higher in those with a higher body mass index (BMI).
Moreover, after adjusting for other risk factors such as smoking status, physical activity and alcohol consumption, it was 28 percent higher.
"If you made everybody's weight gain over those intervening years the same, there was still an effect of being heavier at age 25 on increased mortality," said Stevens.
"BMI in young adulthood matters. You can't just make up for it by losing weight later. You need to be concerned about your BMI throughout your young adulthood," she added.
The findings were published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.