Obese adults in the U.S. have worse heart health and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes today than in the late 1980s, a new study suggests.
"For those who are obese and have (high) blood sugar or are just obese, they should try a more intense approach to control their weight and blood sugar levels so that they have a lower risk of cardiovascular outcomes," said Dr. Fangjian Guo, the study's lead author from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
As reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers used data collected from 18,626 obese adults between 1988 and 2014 through the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Overall, the researchers saw decreases in blood pressure and cholesterol levels during that time. However, they found increases in hemoglobin A1c, which reflects blood sugar level over the past several months. Higher levels of A1c suggest worse blood sugar control and possibly diabetes.
Over the course of the study, the proportion of people with no risk factors for heart disease - no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol and normal blood glucose control - remained steady at about 15 percent.