Women who gain even modest amounts of weight after the age of 35 and are not considered overweight still run a higher risk of heart disease, a study reported Tuesday.
The survey of 115,818 women over a 14-year period also revealed the lowest risk of heart disease was among those who were lean at age 18 and did not gain or lose appreciable weight after that time.
The report, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Of the women in the study, 1,292 were found to have developed heart disease after 14 years.
"Higher levels of body weight within the 'normal' range, as well as modest weight gains after 18 years of age, appear to increase risks of coronary heart disease in middle-aged women," the report said.
Current weight guidelines, issued in 1990, are slightly higher than previous ones.