A Swedish study generated evidence that changes in BMI during puberty are strong predictors of elevated cardiovascular death risk among males.
Several research studies have generated evidence that supports the linkage between adolescent and childhood obesity and an elevated risk of future cardiovascular events during adulthood. Relatedly, research has also provided evidence demonstrating a relationship between increased body mass index (BMI levels, a common indicator of obesity and cardiovascular health) and an increased risk of cardiovascular death occurring during adulthood. Importantly though, a gap in research exists regarding studies investigating the influence of having a high BMI level during childhood prior to puberty and experiencing increases or fluctuations in BMI during puberty on cardiovascular death risk in adulthood. To address this research gap, Swedish researchers involved in the BEST (BMI epidemiology study) collected data on height, weight, and birth weight from School Health Care records for men born in Gothenburg, Sweden. Data was also extracted from required military tests.
The researchers identify the large sample size, reasonably long follow-up time, and repeated standardized birth and weight measurements as important strengths for this study. A crucial limitation of this study is that no data regarding childhood socioeconomic status or education was obtained. A vital implication of this study is that BMI levels should be carefully recorded during puberty to recognize a higher risk of cardiovascular death.
Written By: Melissa Booker