Heart failure, which relatively occurs around the average age of 47, has becomes a major threat to health worldwide, the researchers said.
The findings showed that adolescent males with a body mass index (BMI) between 20 to 22.5 had a 22 per cent increased risk of heart failure as adults.
In addition, obese men with a BMI of 35 and above were found to develop a ten-fold increase in the risk of heart problems.
“Our findings show the importance of body weight in adolescence and suggest that more emphasis should be placed on the maintenance of a healthy body weight from an early age as a preventive measure,” said Annika Rosengren, professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
“Although most studies define a normal weight as having a BMI between 18.5 and 25, but this cannot define the appropriate BMI conditions required for the youth, especially among thin people. This may be why we see an increase in the risk of heart failure starting at a fairly low BMI level,” Rosengren added.
For the study, published in the European Heart Journal, the team surveyed more than 1.6 million men, over a period of 23 years, between five to 42 years. During the follow- up, among 5,492 men, nearly 47 were reportedly admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with heart failure.
“There is an urgent need for action worldwide to curb the obesity epidemic,” Rosengren suggested, adding that action needs to be taken by governments as well as individuals, for instance by creating an environment that does not promote overweight and obesity and that encourages people not to be sedentary and not to eat more than they need.