Among Americans, a gradual weight gain of one to two pounds a year during early
adulthood is typical. This may be considered benign with regard to health, but research
shows that it is not. A study evaluated the health implications of weight gain
from early adulthood (age 18 for women, 21 for men) to middle adulthood (age 55)
among health professionals. Women gained an average of 22 pounds over early to
middle adulthood, and men gained about 19 pounds. Compared to those who had
maintained a stable weight across early and middle life, the study found that each 11
lb. (5 kg) weight gain was associated with a 30% increased risk of type 2 diabetes,
14% increased risk of hypertension, 8% increased risk of cardiovascular disease,
6% increased risk of obesity-related cancer (but such associations were not significant
for overall cancer), 5% increased risk of dying prematurely (among never
smokers), and a 17% decreased odds of achieving healthy aging. Weight gain also
increased the risk of cataracts, cholelithiasis (gallstones), and severe osteoarthritis.
The study authors concluded that “Among women and men, moderate weight gain
from early to middle adulthood was associated with significantly increased risk of
major chronic diseases and mortality.”

Waist circumference provides a more accurate indication of a health risk than BMI
because it better measures the most metabolically active and harmful fat, the visceral
fat stored in the abdomen—especially fat in the liver. A study of 350,000 Europeans
found that over the average of a 9.7-year follow-up, having a large waistline
(greater than 47 inches in men, 39 inches in women) nearly doubled the risk of
premature death.

Waist circumference is a better predictor of the risks of insulin resistance, diabetes,
high blood pressure, heart disease, and the metabolic syndrome—defined as the
presence of three or more of the following five risk factors: a large waist circumference
(abdominal obesity), high blood glucose, high triglyceride, a low high-density
lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level and high blood pressure. The metabolic syndrome
affects more than 75 million or 40% of Americans over age 40 and it greatly
increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

After adjustment for BMI, the INTERHEART study attributed 33.7% of heart attacks
to an increased waist-to-hip ratio (abdominal obesity) compared with 10.8%
of infarctions attributed to overweight and obesity as measured by a BMI over 25.
These findings, together with a study of a genetic propensity for a higher waist-to hip
ratio, provide evidence that abdominal adiposity, independent of elevated BMI,
is a major driver of diabetes and coronary heart disease.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel,