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ICO: Obesity in Young Men Ups Lifelong Mortality Risk

Last Updated: July 14, 2010.

Men who are obese at 20 years of age have a lifelong doubling in mortality risk compared to their non-obese counterparts, according to a study presented at the International Congress on Obesity, held from July 11 to 15 in Stockholm, Sweden.

WEDNESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Men who are obese at 20 years of age have a lifelong doubling in mortality risk compared to their non-obese counterparts, according to a study presented at the International Congress on Obesity, held from July 11 to 15 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Among 362,200 young Danish men examined for military service between 1943 and 1977, Esther Zimmermann, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues identified 1,930 obese individuals and a random sample of 3,601 non-obese individuals at a mean age of 20 years (Survey S-20). In addition, two follow-up surveys were conducted at mean ages of 35 and 46 years (Survey S-35 and S-46).

The researchers found that 1,191 men died through 65 years of follow-up, with obese individuals experiencing twice the mortality of the control group. In addition, the same survival proportions were reached about eight years earlier for obese individuals than those in the control group from approximately 55 years of age. Independent of year of birth, education, and smoking, similar obesity-mortality effects were observed from S-35 and S-46. The researchers also found that the chance of dying prematurely increased by 10 percent for each body mass index point greater than or equal to 25 kg/m², and that this persisted throughout life.

"The persistence of obesity may partly explain why obesity at 20 years of age has lifelong mortality effects, but it needs to be proven whether that is the full explanation or whether, by itself, being obese at an early age increases the risk of early death," Zimmermann said in a statement.

A co-author disclosed financial relationships with Nestle Research Centre, Sanofi-Aventis, DSM, Ramboll Management, and Merck and Co.

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