Puppy fat at 9 could lead to heart disease at 29


Girls as young as nine show an increased risk of heart disease as a result of being overweight. Higher blood pressure and unhealthy changes in cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream suggest that the long-term consequences of puppy fat could be serious. They also show that the years between 9 and 12 are a crucial period for becoming overweight and that once the weight is on it is hard to shift.

Girls who were overweight at the age of 9 were nearly 15 times more likely to be overweight as young adults than those who were of normal weight at 9, a study shows.

The authors, from the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, give warning that childhood obesity may have serious short and long-term consequences. “Girls who were overweight were three to ten times more likely to be assessed in the risk range on four out of six health indicators, and had three times greater odds of having elevated levels of LDL cholesterol,” the team concludes in The Journal of Pediatrics.

More than 2,300 girls aged 9 or 10 were enrolled in the study and followed for more than ten years. The team measured their height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol every year until they were 18 and had extra measurements made when they were 21 to 23.

A second study has shown that men who are overweight or obese are significantly more likely to die of prostate cancer. Obesity is known to increase the risks of a range of cancers, including breast and bowel cancer, but this latest study produced a puzzling result.

The risks of dying from prostate cancer may be increased by being obese, but the risks of getting it are actually decreased.

A team led by Margaret Wright of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, followed 287,760 men aged between 50 and 71 as part of a diet and health study. It reports in Cancer that there is a clear link between weight and death from prostate cancer. Men who were severely obese had a doubled risk.

But neither overweight nor obesity increased the risk of getting the disease. The authors explain this by suggesting that overweight and obese men have lower testosterone levels.