HealthDay News — Young adults aged 18 to 24 years are at highest risk for weight gain, according to a study published online in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Michail Katsoulis, PhD, from the Institute of Health Informatics at University College London, and colleagues used data from linked electronic health records from 400 primary care practices in England to calculate longitudinal changes in body mass index (BMI) over 1, 5, and 10 years among 2,092,260 eligible individuals (aged 18 to 74 years) with more than 9 million BMI measurements between Jan 1, 1998, and June 30, 2016.

The researchers found that the strongest risk factor for weight gain at 1, 5, and 10 years of follow-up was young adult age. Adults in the youngest age group (18 to 24 years) versus the oldest age group (65 to 74 years) had the highest odds ratio (4.22) and greatest absolute risk (37% vs 24%) of transitioning to overweight or obesity at 10 years. Compared with the oldest age group, those in the youngest age group had the highest relative risk and absolute risk for transitioning from overweight to class 1 or 2 obesity (odds ratio, 4.60; absolute risk, 42% vs 18%) and for transitioning from obesity class 1 and 2 to class 3 (odds ratio, 5.87; absolute risk, 22% vs 5%).

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“If we are serious about preventing obesity, then we should develop interventions that can be targeted and are relevant for young adults,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text