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Young adults who maintain their weight have lower risk factor levels for heart disease

New Orleans, LA, Nov. 8, 2004 Young adults who maintain their weight over time, even if they are overweight, have lower risk factor levels for heart disease and are less likely to develop metabolic syndrome in middle age than those whose weight increases, according to the results of a large multi-center study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of risk factors that increases a person's risk of heart disease. After 15 years, only 3.6 percent of the study participants who had maintained their weight had developed metabolic syndrome, compared to 18 percent of those whose weight had increased.

"Young U.S. adults have a major problem with weight gain during these years. The minimum goal for every young adult is to try to prevent weight gain, even if he or she is overweight," said NHLBI Acting Director Barbara Alving, M.D.

The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study followed over 5,000 men and women for 15 years. Selection of study participants who were initially aged 18 to 30 was balanced for sex, race, and education. CARDIA evaluated participants at four clinical centers in Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN and Oakland, CA. This study included data for 2,475 adults who attended every exam but excluded those who were underweight or very obese at the start of the study.

The study examined the relationship over time between weight and several cardiovascular disease risk factors: high blood pressure, high glucose (sugar) levels which can indicate risk for diabetes, high triglyceride levels, low levels of good cholesterol, and a large waist. Metabolic syndrome is defined as having at least 3 of these risk factors. Investigators found that on average as body mass index, an indicator of obesity, increased, adverse changes in these cardio
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Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
nhlbinews@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
8-Nov-2004


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