"This study points out the dangers of weight gain weight gain is the major contributor to the progression of risk factors and the development of metabolic syndrome," said Dr. Lloyd-Jones. The study followed nearly 2,500 men and women initially aged 18 to 30 over 15 years. Approximately 82 percent of the study's participants gained 15 pounds or more over the 15 years they were followed. Nearly 1 in 5 in this "gain" group developed metabolic syndrome a group of metabolic risk factors that are indicators that an individual is at increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Less than 4 percent in the stable weight group had metabolic syndrome by the end of the study.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by unhealthy traits such as excessive belly fat, high cholesterol and other blood-fat disorders, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance or diabetes, and either a high normal blood pressure or hypertension. The syndrome has been linked to obesity, physical inactivity, and genetic factors and now weight gain. A recent study found that people with at least three factors for metabolic syndrome had a 65 percent greater risk of coronary heart disease death compared to people who did not have metabolic syndrome, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.