Higher than normal body mass index (BMI) is known to cause cardiovascular diseases in mid-to-late life, but a new research has revealed a higher BMI can cause worse cardiovascular health even in those aged as young as 17.
The researchers from University of Bristol, UK, hypothesised that cardiovascular risk due to increased BMI was likely to emerge in earlier life.
“Our results showed that the causal impact of higher BMI on cardiac output was solely driven by the volume of blood pumped by the left ventricle. This, at least in part, can explain the causal effect of higher BMI on cardiac hypertrophy and higher blood pressure that we observed in all our analyses,” said Kaitlin Wade, a research associate at the University of Bristol.
The scientists demonstrated that obesity also caused poorer cardiovascular health in young adults. In contrast, higher BMI did not seem to affect heart rate in this group.
The results support efforts to tackle the obesity epidemic from an early age in order to prevent the development of cardiovascular changes known to be precursors of cardiovascular ill-health and disease.
“We believe that there are clear messages for cardiovascular health in our findings and we hope that they may lead to increased efforts to tackle obesity from early life,” Wade noted in a paper presented to the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics.