Lifestyle Affects Lipid Levels in Transition to Adulthood

Weight gain, fitness level, and smoking factor in as youths grow to adults

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle factors such as weight gain, smoking, and loss of fitness influence the development of risk levels for blood lipid and lipoprotein as people transition from youth to adulthood, according to research published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Costan G. Magnussen, Ph.D., of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, and colleagues measured blood lipid and lipoprotein levels in 539 individuals aged 9, 12, or 15 in 1985, and again between 2004 and 2006, to examine the effect of lifestyle changes on these levels as youths transition to adulthood.

The researchers found that a substantial number of the subjects who started out with high-risk blood lipid and lipoprotein levels no longer had high-risk levels in adulthood. Those who started and stayed at high risk tended to have greater adiposity gains and to start or continue smoking (P < .05), and those who became high risk as adults had greater adiposity increases, were more likely to lose fitness between surveys, and were less likely to improve their socioeconomic position (P ≤ .05). After adjustment for predictive lifestyle variables, these effects tended to remain (P ≤ .10).

"Unhealthy lifestyle changes that occur between youth and adulthood affect whether an individual maintains, loses, or develops high-risk blood lipid and lipoprotein levels in adulthood. Interventions that promote weight control in the first instance, but also physical activity, not smoking, and improved socioeconomic position in the transition from youth to adulthood, are likely to be of benefit in preventing adult dyslipidemia," the authors write.

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