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Obese Girls at Higher Risk of Premature Death Later On

Sibutramine helps overweight adolescents slim down

TUESDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescent girls who are obese run a higher risk of premature death later in life, and sibutramine along with behavior therapy can help reduce body weight in teens, according to two reports published in the July 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Rob M. van Dam, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues followed 102,400 cancer-free women, aged 24 to 44 years, assessing their current weight and body mass index (BMI), as well as their recalled weight when they were 18.

After 12 years, 710 of the women had died. The researchers found that, compared with a BMI of 18.5 to 21.9 kg/m2 at age 18, the risk of premature death increased progressively with a higher BMI, with a nearly threefold risk of premature death (hazard ratio, 2.79) for women who had a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater.

"Moderately higher adiposity at age 18 years is associated with increased premature death in younger and middle-aged U.S. women," van Dam and colleagues write.

In another study supported by Knoll Pharmaceuticals, Robert I. Berkowitz, M.D., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues compared the effects of sibutramine versus placebo on 498 obese adolescents in weight-loss behavior therapy. They found that adolescents on sibutramine each lost a mean of 8.4 kilograms of body weight more than those on placebo.

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