Women who are overweight at the age of 18 have a higher risk of dying young, but medication and behavior therapy can help young people lose weight, researchers say.
A study of 102,400 female nurses showed that women who were overweight or obese when 18 drank more alcohol, smoked more and were less likely to exercise as teens -- and were also more likely to die between the ages of 36 and 56.
The more a woman weighed at 18, the greater her risk of dying young, the researchers reported in the July 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Women who were moderately overweight at 18 were more than 50% more likely to die in the 12 years of follow-up, and obese women were more than twice as likely to die as the slimmest 18-year-olds.
The women died of various causes -- 258 died of cancer, 55 of heart disease or stroke and 61 committed suicide.
Even women who had never smoked were more likely to die if they remembered being overweight as 18-year-olds.