Owen, C.G., Whincup, P.H., Orfel, L., Chou, Q-A., Rudnicka, A.R., Wathern, A.K., Kaye, S.J., Eriksson, J.G., Osmond, C. and Cook, D.G.
Is body mass index before middle age related to coronary heart disease risk in later life?
International Journal of Obesity, 33, (8), . (doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.102).
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Objective: Although obesity beginning early in life is becoming more common, its implications for coronary heart disease
(CHD) risk in later life remain uncertain. We examined the relationship of body mass index (BMI) before 30 years of age to CHD risk in later life.
Design: Systematic review of published studies relating BMI between age 2 and 30 years to later CHD risk. Studies were
identified using Medline (1950 onwards), Embase (1980 onwards) and Web of Science (1970 onwards) databases (to November 2007).
Measurements: Relative risks (RR) of CHD associated with a 1 standard deviation (s.d.) higher BMI (most based on a narrow age range at measurement) were extracted by two authors independently, and combined using random-effect models.
Results: A total of 15 studies provided 17 estimates (731 337 participants, 23 894 CHD events) of the association of early BMI to later CHD outcome. BMI in early childhood (2–6 years, 3 estimates) showed a weak inverse association with CHD risk (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.82–1.07). BMI in later childhood (7 to o18 years, 7 estimates) and BMI in early adult life (18–30 years, 7 estimates) were both positively related to later CHD risk (RR 1.09, 95% CI 1.00–1.20; RR 1.19, 95% CI 1.11–1.29 respectively). However, there was considerable statistical heterogeneity between study estimates. Results were unaffected by adjustment for social class and/or cigarette smoking, blood pressure and/or total cholesterol, in studies with available data. Gender and year of birth (1900–1976) had little effect on the association.
Conclusions: BMI is positively related to CHD risk from childhood onwards; the associations in young adults are consistent with those observed in middle age. Long-term control of BMI from childhood may be important to reduce the risk of CHD.
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