Keeping the line is not just an aesthetic concern but is of paramount importance for staying healthy in old age. People who accumulate significant excess weight between the ages of 20 and 55 are at greater risk of developing several chronic diseases later in life and of dying prematurely.
Obesity has become one of the major public health problems worldwide. In 2015, no less than 107.7 million children and 603.7 million adults were obese and this excess weight alone was responsible for 4 million deaths.
In adults, body weight generally begins to increase in the twenties, at a rate of about 0.5 to 1 kg per year. Between the ages of 20 and 50, it is therefore not uncommon for a person to gain 10 to 20 kg (and even more), and this excess weight can lead to obesity. For example, a man 1.80 m tall who goes from 80 kg to 100 kg during his adult life sees his body mass index (BMI) increase from 25 to 31, which corresponds to the BMI of an obese person according to World Health Organization criteria.
Being overweight leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cataracts
The importance of this problem is particularly well illustrated by the results of a US study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Analyzing the difference in body weight of 118,140 men and women between the ages of 20 and 55, the authors found that 23% of women and 13% of men had accumulated 20 kg or more during this period.
In these people, excessive weight gain was associated with a significant increase in the risk of several diseases over the following years (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, severe osteoarthritis, cataracts) as well as a risk increased premature mortality.
5kg too much, the risks increase and the quality of life decreases
Excessive weight gain is also associated with a significant deterioration in quality of life, as measured by the appearance of multiple chronic diseases, the deterioration of cognitive functions and the increase in physical limitations.
The risk of being affected by these health problems is even observed for much lower weight gains. For example, gaining as little as 5 kg during adulthood carries health risks.
Overweight young people think they are healthy
These results show once again how excessive weight accumulation is an abnormal physiological state, with disastrous consequences for health. In early adulthood, these problems are not yet apparent, so obese young people often consider themselves to be in good health and do not see the point of changing their lifestyle.
However, it is important to realize that in the longer term, despite what we sometimes read, we cannot be obese and healthy, because the imbalances caused by excess body fat greatly accelerate the development of all chronic diseases and reduce both the quality and the life expectancy.
Global Burden of Diseases 2015 Obesity Collaborators. Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. N.Engl. J.Med. 2017; 377: 13-27.
Zheng Y et al. Associations of weight gain from early to middle adulthood with major health out-comes later in life. JAMA 2017; 318: 255-269.
Also Read: Lose Weight By Eating Whole Grains