any reduction of body mass index to a normal, healthy level from a young age is likely to prevent the development of adverse cardiovascular health in later life,” said study author Kaitlin Wade, a research associate at the University of Bristol Medical School.
“If the obesity epidemic increases, or indeed maintains its current trajectory, it is likely that the future risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke and coronary heart disease will increase,” she added.
For the study, Wade and her colleagues used a new genetic analysis to determine if an unhealthy BMI causes spikes in blood pressure or structural changes in the heart. Their analysis included several thousand healthy 17- and 21-year-olds who are participating in an ongoing study.
The researchers found that higher BMI caused higher blood pressure or more force against the artery walls during and between heartbeats. Being overweight also caused the left ventricle, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber, to become enlarged.
Excess weight can make the heart