Teen obesity linked to serious adult health problems
Obesity is linked to numerous health problems. A recent study in Pediatrics shows this is even true for obese teenagers, who are at a higher risk for serious health problems later in life, such as kidney malfunction, asthma, and walking problems.
Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh followed 1,502 severely obese adults ages 19 to 76 who were enrolled in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2 study (LABS-2). LABS-2 is a long-term study funded by the National Institutes of Health on the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery.
Study participants reported their height and weight at age 18. Forty-two percent were of average weight at 18, 29 percent were obese, and 13 percent were severely obese. The group of teens was then followed over time and the team found obese teens had greater health problems as adults. The BMI was adjusted to reflect change in adolescence.
Participants who were severely obese as teenagers were four times more likely to experience skin ulcers and swollen legs than those who were healthy in their teens. Obese teens were also three times more likely to have kidney problems and walking limitations. They were also at a higher risk for asthma, sleep apnea, and diabetes compared to other participants who were at a healthy weight as teens.
The study concluded these findings help support the importance of obesity prevention in children and teenagers.