More young Americans have diabetes and obesity, higher heart disease risk

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A study of 13,000 individuals aged 20 to 44 in the United States has shown alarming trends of increasing diabetes and obesity rates among young adults, putting them at a higher risk of heart disease.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study warns of potential public health implications, including a generation facing premature heart attacks, strokes, and other complications.

Black and Hispanic individuals, particularly Mexican Americans, are disproportionately affected.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Obesity increased from 33% to 41%.
  • Diabetes increased from 3% to 4%.
  • Hypertension slightly increased from 9% to 11.5% but did not reach statistical significance.
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol or triglycerides) decreased from 40.5% to 26%.

Young Black adults face the highest risk, with hypertension being twice as prevalent among them compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

Structural racial inequities, such as lower-income households, housing instability, food insecurity, and limited access to primary care, contribute to these disparities.

Hypertension is also on the rise among Hispanic individuals, potentially due to sodium-heavy diets and limited access to healthier food options in low-income areas.

The study recommends addressing these disparities through measures such as expanding hypertension screening and treatment for young Black adults, earlier diabetes screening, culturally competent public health campaigns for Mexican American adults, and creating green spaces to promote physical activity.

Without intervention, the study warns of a potential future “tsunami” of cardiovascular disease and increased cardiovascular mortality as the U.S. population ages.

If you care about obesity, please read studies about Scientists find two big contributors to obesity and findings of Higher dose of this diabetes med could improve blood sugar and weight loss.

For more information about weight loss, please see recent studies about best cheeses to improve diabetes and lose weight, and results showing gastric sleeve weight-loss surgery: a real story.

The research findings can be found in JAMA.

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