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Obesity in young men, and individual and combined risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular morbidity and death before 55 years of age: a Danish 33-year follow-up study
  1. Morten Schmidt1,2,3,
  2. Sigrun A Johannesdottir1,2,
  3. Stanley Lemeshow1,2,
  4. Timothy L Lash1,4,
  5. Sinna P Ulrichsen1,
  6. Hans Erik Bøtker3,
  7. Henrik Toft Sørensen1
  1. 1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus N, Denmark
  2. 2Division of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  3. 3Department of Cardiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus N, Denmark
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Morten Schmidt; msc{at}


Objectives To examine the association between body mass index (BMI) in young adulthood and cardiovascular risks, including venous thromboembolism, before 55 years of age.

Design Cohort study using population-based medical databases.

Setting Outcomes registered from all hospitals in Denmark from 1977 onwards.

Participants 6502 men born in 1955 and eligible for conscription in Northern Denmark.

Main outcome measures Follow-up began at participants’ 22nd birthday and continued until death, emigration or 55 years of age, whichever came first. Using regression analyses, we calculated the risks and HRs, adjusting for cognitive test score and years of education.

Results 48% of all obese young men (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) were either diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke or venous thromboembolism or died before reaching 55 years of age. Comparing obese men with normal weight men (BMI 18.5 to <25.0 kg/m2), the risk difference for any outcome was 28% (95% CI 19% to 38%) and the HR was 3.0 (95% CI 2.3 to 4.0). Compared with normal weight, obesity was associated with an event rate that was increased more than eightfold for type 2 diabetes, fourfold for venous thromboembolism and twofold for hypertension, myocardial infarction and death.

Conclusions In this cohort of young men, obesity was strongly associated with adverse cardiometabolic events before 55 years of age, including venous thromboembolism. Compared with those of normal weight, young obese men had an absolute risk increase for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular morbidity or premature death of almost 30%.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

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