Conducted at the University College London, researchers found that an earlier age was more crucial in determining the risk of weight gain and obesity compared to other factors, such as ethnicity, geographic region, socioeconomic status, and sex.
For the study, over 2 million eligible participants were considered, all of them between the ages of 18 and 74.
From the findings: “Young adult age was the strongest risk factor for weight gain at 1, 5, and 10 years of follow-up. Compared with the oldest age group (65–74 years), adults in the youngest age group (18–24 years) had the highest OR and greatest absolute risk (37% vs 24%) of transitioning from normal weight to overweight or obesity at 10 years.”
“Likewise, adults in the youngest age group with overweight or obesity at baseline were also at highest risk to transition to a higher BMI category; OR 4·60 and absolute risk (42% vs 18%) of transitioning from overweight to class 1 and 2 obesity, and OR 5·87 and absolute risk (22% vs 5%) of transitioning from class 1 and 2 obesity to class 3 obesity.”
“Our findings show that it is possible to identify individuals at the highest risk of weight gain using EHRs and information readily available to public health agencies, and that young adults should be a major focus of strategies to prevent the onset of overweight and obesity,” the findings concluded.