The researchers discovered that people who gained even a modest amount of weight over that time frame were more likely to experience chronic conditions.
If not, your health might be more at risk than you think: Gaining even a nominal amount of weight after your teen years can up your odds of experiencing some serious health conditions, a new study in JAMA suggests.
In the study, researchers weighed over 180,000 when they were 18 or 21 years old, and then re-weighed them an average of 37 years later to see how much the number changed. On average, men gained about 19 pounds during that time, compared to 22 pounds for women.
The researchers discovered that people who gained even a modest amount of weight—from about 5 pounds to 22 pounds—over that time frame were significantly more likely to experience chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. They were also less likely to meet the criteria for “healthy aging,” a compilation of factors including an absence of serious medical problems like cancer or heart failure, no cognitive decline, and no physical limitations on moderate activities.
Then, after performing a meta-analysis on the numbers, the researchers concluded that gaining for each 11-pound weight gain from early adulthood, you can increase your chances of diabetes by 31 percent, high blood pressure by 14 percent, heart disease by 8 percent, and obesity-related cancers by 6 percent.
The risks were highest for those with the highest body mass indexes (BMI) as young adults and the most weight gain over the follow up period.
Weight gain during adulthood is often ignored, since it tends to creep on slowly. So its consequences aren’t readily apparent, the authors write. But this study shows that the cumulative effects of even minor, gradual weight gain can be major.
If you only have a handful of extra pounds to lose, just a few simple changes can be enough to shed them for good.