By: Dr. Masoud Abdar
According to a study by the American College of Cardiology’s 62nd Annual Scientific Session, being or becoming overweight in your younger years, leads to developing a bigger heart muscle to compensate for the more work on the heart, thus leading to severe heart problems, diabetes type II, even death. The research showed that people who carry more weight over their earlier years in particular, are more likely to have increases in left sided heart mass and relatively thicker heart walls.
These findings are directly correlated with people who have higher cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This means the earlier someone becomes overweight or stays overweight, the greater the increase in their heart’s mass later in life, and more irreversible health issues that will slowly reveal themselves.
The mentality that you could lose the weight later and don’t mind sacrificing an overweight figure for the eating without restrictions in your 20’s, is the wrong approach. In that time, not only does your heart muscle grow in fat and muscle size, but it is virtually irreversible to train your heart to shrink back to its younger size. Once your heart muscle has grown because of sedentary choices, you have made yourself that much more susceptible to acquiring a heart attack, diabetes, stroke, and early death, just to name a few.
An immense amount of studies as well as personal experience among most people you ask, expresses the difficulty in going back to and maintaining a normal weight range once someone has become overweight. In North America, 33.3% of school age children are considered overweight and there is an expanding trend in this epidemic with no signs of reducing. This signifies that more and more children are entering early adulthood, overweight or on the verge of becoming considered overweight. Thus, prevention in becoming overweight while young is of paramount importance to avoid future health risks.
Now let’s discuss body mass index (BMI) in reference to this topic. A 44 year long analysis led by the American College of Cardiology, monitored 1,653 men and women throughout their lives to study the effects of being overweight from a younger age, and its affect on the heart. Since BMI measures simply the body’s fat based on weight to height ratio, people considered overweight ranged with a BMI of 25 to 29.9. And, people considered obese, ranged with a BMI of 30 and above, in this research, and ultimately they contained the biggest hearts by weight/size. Interestingly, the heart was found to be about 7% heavier in those who started out overweight in their 20’s, compared to those who became overweight in their 60’s. Thus, a heart having to work harder for a longer period of time based on a human’s unhealthy choices from an earlier age of onset, is almost always bound to experience more health issues and possibly give out sooner.
Lastly, another cardiac health marker in the same study mentioned above, demonstrated that those with diabetes are at higher risk for heart problems the longer they had diabetes and a sharp spike in blood pressure during early to mid life. This signifies that reaching a definite high limit, for instance having high blood sugar, can surge one’s probability of heart disease later on as well. The body’s physiology and how it works is heavily interrelated. If you don’t take care of one aspect of your health, especially in your younger years, not only will that worsen, but so will other health concerns you didn’t know you could acquire in just a matter of a decade, for example.