Childhood obesity rates continue to rise in the United States, but the problem reaches far beyond our borders. Countless children and teens in countries across the globe are now classified as overweight or obese, and the long-term health implications are alarming. Now, researchers in Sweden have uncovered yet another reason to take the problem seriously.
For boys especially, being overweight or obese in their teenage years may significantly impact their liver health later in life. And the heavier they are, the higher the risk, say the authors of a new study published last month in the journal Hepatology.
In looking at more than four decades of health information for close to 45,000 men, Dr. Hannes Hagstrom and a team of investigators from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm determined that those who were overweight or obese as teenagers were 64 percent more likely to develop severe liver disease later in life—and that likelihood increased with a greater BMI.
Study authors believe the global increase in liver disease is closely linked to the current obesity epidemic, and that early intervention may play an important role in developing successful prevention programs and preserving men’s health in the future.