Overweight teens are prime candidates for heart disease when they become adults, even if they lose weight, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed the health records of 37,674 men, and found that the more the subjects weighed when they were 17, the greater their likelihood of having started to develop heart disease by the time they were in their 30s or 40s. The increased risk began to mount for those whose body mass index (a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate percentage of body fat) was above 20.7, which is within a healthy body weight, and the heart disease risk increased in accordance with how overweight they were. Those who were heaviest as teens had a seven-fold increase in risk, even if they became normal-weight adults. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, was the first of its kind that showed that being an overweight teen is an independent risk factor for heart disease later in life.
Experts observed that this research clearly demonstrates the need for programs to educate young people on the need to eat healthy and exercise. Even though this study was only done on men, previous research indicates the results would hold true for women as well. Sticking to Guidelines Helps Patients Doctors are presumed to follow established clinical guidelines, which are sets of recommendations culled from the findings of medical research. But in reality, they don’t always do so. However, a new study shows that patients do better when doctors follow clinical guidelines when caring for them. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at patients in Sweden who were treated for a particularly damaging type of heart attack between 1996 and 2007. During the 12 years that the study examined, treatments proven to help heart attack patients, including drugs to break up blood clots and procedures to open arteries, became more common. Patients whose doctors implemented the new procedures did better, the study found. In fact, their risk of dying in the year following their heart attack dropped from 21 percent to just 13 percent.