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
Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute