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BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2 is associated with a younger age of onset of overweight and a high prevalence of adverse metabolic profiles

  • Jean O’Connell (a1), Phillip Kieran (a1), Kathleen Gorman (a1), Tomas Ahern (a1), Tom J Cawood (a1) (a2) and Donal O’Shea (a1)...
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To study the demographic and clinical parameters of three different categories of obesity, with particular focus on a cohort of individuals with BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2, the fastest growing category of obesity.

Design

Over 700 obese individuals were studied (186 with BMI = 30–39 kg/m2, 316 with BMI = 40–49 kg/m2 and 290 with BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2).

Results

Median BMI was 51 kg/m2 for patients who reported onset of overweight before 15 years of age, 47 kg/m2 for patients who reported onset between 15 and 30 years, and 42 kg/m2 for patients who became overweight after 30 years of age. The BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2 group was notably younger than the group with BMI = 30–39 kg/m2 (44 (sd 11) years v. 50 (sd 15) years; P < 0·0001). Eighteen per cent of obese patients studied were considered metabolically healthy according to standard cut-off points for blood pressure, fasting glucose and lipid profiles. However, the proportion of metabolically healthy individuals was significantly higher in the BMI = 30–39 kg/m2 group than in the BMI = 40–49 kg/m2 and BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2 groups (31 % v. 17 % and 12 % respectively; P < 0·05 and P < 0·005). When compared with people of similar age in the general population, individuals with BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2 had lower rates of marriage (51 % v. 72 %) and a higher prevalence of unemployment (14 % v. 5 %).

Conclusions

The current study suggests that the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity worldwide will lead to many more individuals achieving a higher BMI at a younger age. Furthermore, an earlier onset of overweight does not appear to prevent the adverse metabolic health outcomes associated with extreme obesity.

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*Corresponding author: Email jeanoco@gmail.com
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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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