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Higher BMI in Male Teens Tied to Cardiomyopathy in Adulthood

Risk increased even at BMI considered normal; more than eightfold greater risk seen for BMI ≥35 kg/m²

TUESDAY, May 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Increased body mass index (BMI) in adolescence is associated with an increased risk for cardiomyopathy in adulthood among men, according to a study published online May 28 in Circulation.

Josefina Robertson, M.D., from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues conducted a nationwide register-based prospective cohort study of 1,668,893 male adolescents who enlisted for compulsory military service in 1969 to 2005. BMI, blood pressure, and medical disorders were registered, and fitness and muscle strength were tested. Cardiomyopathy diagnoses were identified during a follow-up period of up to 46 years.

The researchers identified 4,477 cases of cardiomyopathy during follow-up, of which 59, 15, and 11 percent were dilated, hypertrophic, and alcohol/drug-induced, respectively. A strong correlation was noted between increasing BMI and increased risk for cardiomyopathy, especially dilated. Compared with a BMI of 18.5 to <20 kg/m², the risk was increased for a BMI of 22.5 to <25 kg/m² (hazard ratio, 1.38) and for a BMI of ≥35 kg/m² (hazard ratio, 8.11) after adjustment for age, year, center, and baseline comorbidities. For each unit increment in BMI, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.15, 1.09, and 1.10 for dilated, hypertrophic, and alcohol/drug-induced cardiomyopathy.

“The already marked importance of weight control in youth is further strengthened by these findings, as well as greater evidence for obesity as a potential important cause of adverse cardiac remodeling independent of clinically evident ischemic heart disease,” the authors write.

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