(HealthDay News) — Even a few extra pounds gained in early or middle adulthood can increase risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, according to a study published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The research came from two large-scale studies of health professionals in the United States, including 92,837 women whose health was followed for 18 years, and 25,303 men whose health was followed for 15 years. The women were asked to recall their weight at age 18. The men recalled their weight at age 21. At age 55, the average weight gain for women was 28 pounds and for men it was 21 pounds.
The researchers found that for every 11 pounds gained, the risk of diabetes went up 31 percent. The same weight gain was linked to a 14 percent increased risk of hypertension and an 8 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Each extra 11 pounds was also associated with a 6 percent increased risk of an obesity-related cancer, a 5 percent higher risk of dying prematurely, and a 17 percent decrease in the odds of healthy aging.
“In these cohorts of health professionals, weight gain during adulthood was associated with significantly increased risk of major chronic diseases and decreased odds of healthy aging,” the authors conclude. “These findings may help counsel patients regarding the risks of weight gain.”