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Obesity Could Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Illness Among the Young

May 29, 2017 06:32 AM EDT
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People who have higher than normal body-mass index or suffering from obesity were more likely to develop poor cardiovascular health.
(Photo : Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that young people who have higher than normal body-mass index or suffering from obesity were more likely to develop poor cardiovascular health, despite being young, and apparently, healthy.

The study, presented at the 50th Annual Conference of the European Society of Human Genetics, showed that higher BMI in those young adults aged as a young as 17 could experience cardiovascular ill-health.

"Our results showed that the causal impact of higher BMI on cardiac output was solely driven by the volume of blood pumped by the left ventricle (stroke volume)," said Dr Kaitlin Wade, a Research Associate at the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC-IEU) at the University of Bristol and lead author of the study, in a press release. "This, at least in part, can explain the causal effect of higher BMI on cardiac hypertrophy and higher blood pressure that we observed in all our analyses."

For the study, the researchers investigated the link between higher BMI and cardiovascular health using data from The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a birth cohort study that started in the early 1990s and includes over 14,000 pregnant mothers with their partners and children. Using the genomic data from the ALSPAC, the researchers were able to detect the likely causal relationship between higher BMI and higher blood pressure and left ventricular mass index (LVMI) in those aged 17 and 21.

The researchers found that the causal effect of high BMI and obesity on cardiovascular health lies on the volume of blood pumped by the left ventricle. A thickened left ventricle in the heart, or hypertrophy, suggests that it has worked harder to pump blood. Hypertrophy is commonly used as a strong indication of heart disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the prevalence of obesity in young adults, which is about 32.2 percent, is lower than those of the middle-aged and older adults, about 40.2 percent and 37.0 percent, respectively.

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