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Childhood Weight Status May Stratify Mortality Risk in Adults With Obesity

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All-cause mortality risk highest for adults who were slim/underweight in childhood before having obesity in adulthood

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 16, 2024 (HealthDay News) — In adults with obesity, childhood weight status may stratify mortality risk, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Congress on Obesity, hosted by the European Association for the Study of Obesity from May 12 to 15 in Venice, Italy.

William Johnson, Ph.D., from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from 191,181 men and 242,806 women (aged 40 to 69 years) participating in the U.K. Biobank to determine whether the associations of adulthood overweight and obesity with mortality and incident disease differ according to self-reported child body weight.

The researchers found that adulthood obesity was associated with a higher risk for all outcomes. However, for all-cause mortality and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), the associations of obesity were stronger in adults who reported being thinner at 10 years. Among men who reported being average-weight children, obesity was associated with a higher risk for all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.28; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.21 to 1.35), but among men who reported being thinner children, this risk was even higher (HR, 1.63; 95 percent CI, 1.53 to 1.75). For adults who reported being plumper at 10 years, there was also evidence that the associations of obesity with all-cause mortality and incident CVD were stronger. In women, adulthood overweight was associated with a higher risk for obesity-related cancer in the average and thinner childhood groups, but not in the plumper childhood group (HR, 0.92; 95 percent CI, 0.76 to 1.12). There were no differences between the three 10-year-old weight groups for incident breast cancer.

“Adulthood overweight and obesity may confer greater risks for all-cause mortality and incident CVD among individuals who perceive themselves to have been a thinner or plumper than average child,” the authors write.

Abstract No. 1231

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