While obesity being bad for your health is something that is no longer contested, one study was able to find that even moderate weight gain in your early to middle adult years can increase your risk of chronic disease and premature death. A study by Harvard with over 118,000 participants, including almost 93,000 participants in the Nurse’s Health Study from 1976 to 2012, was conducted to see if weight accumulation in the middle and early adult years can increase disease risk.
The Nurses Health Study is one of the largest studies showing risk factors of chronic disease risks in women. Another study used was the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which was conducted between 1986 and 2012 in order to look up ideas about men’s health. Both of these studies are long-term studies using tens of thousands of participants, and were conducted by Harvard school of medicine, and are both held in high regard in the medical literature.
According to Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard, who conducted the study:
“Our study is the first of its kind to systematically examine the association of weight gain from early to middle adulthood with major health risks later in life, the findings indicate that even a modest amount of weight gain may have important health consequences.”
The study showed that even a small amount of weight accumulation a year, from 5 to 22 pounds, while not causing an immediate issue, can accumulate and reduce healthy aging. They compared people who maintained to weight to people who’s weight fluctuated over a long period of time. For every 11 pounds of weight gain before the age of 55, there was a 30 percent increased risk of diabetes, 8% increased risk of heart disease, 14% higher risk for hypertension, and a 5% higher risk for premature death. There was also a 9% increased risk for obesity-related cancers.
According to Yan Zheng, a professor who worked on the study when he was a post-doctorate fellow at Harvard: “These findings may help health professionals counsel patients about the health consequences of weight gain. Prevention of weight gain through healthy diets and lifestyle is of paramount importance,”
This goes to show that while you might not think too much about that extra 10 pounds, your body still has complications as a result of it being there. This should show the importance of eating a healthy and reduced calorie diet full of greens, vegetables, and lean foods. Staying within a healthy BMI is vital to good health later down the road. That is why it is incredibly important to maintain your weight as you age and to prevent weight fluctuations or accumulative gain.