Heart disease risk increased by obesity and excess weight alone

Heart disease risk increased by obesity and excess weight alone

Many people think that being overweight does not have an effect on the heart.  This study shows this thinking is patently incorrect.

This data shows an increased risk of heart disease if you have a higher BMI than what is considered normal.  It provides further evidence for preventing weight gain in the first place and for getting people to maintain a healthy weight as a priority for health.  The findings add important new evidence to counter the common belief in the scientific and lay communities that the adverse health effects of overweight are generally inconsequential as long as the individual is metabolically healthy.  The findings from this study have important implications and clearly corroborate the clinical and public health message that adiposity is not benign and that achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is of paramount importance.  This study adds further evidence for the increased risks associated with overweight, even among those who might be considered metabolically healthy”
Dr Chandra L. Jackson, PhD, MS, and Meir J. Stampfer, MD, DrPh, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, November 12, 2013.

“It is being overweight and obesity that are the real causes of heart attack and disease.  Thus, you don’t need to examine for the metabolic syndrome to tell whether a person is at increased risk of heart attack.  Just looking at them or measuring their body mass index is sufficient”
Professor Borge G. Nordestgaard, Chief Physician at Copenhagen University Hospital and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

What did the study find?

  • Being overweight or obese are strong independent risk factors for heart disease.
  • This risk increases the more overweight you are and for the longer you are overweight.
  • This risk is there regardless of metabolic syndrome.
  • Heart disease risk was 38% higher in those overweight.
  • Heart disease risk was 70% higher in those overweight with metabolic syndrome.
  • Heart disease risk was 88% higher in those obese.
  • Heart disease risk was 133% higher in those obese with metabolic syndrome.
  • Metabolic syndrome, a condition that includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar, accounts for up to 26% of the risk of heart disease.
  • The rest of the increased risk is mostly due to a person’s size and weight.
  • Metabolic syndrome was present in 10% of normal-weight people, 40% of overweight people and 62% of those who were obese.

Study by Thomsen, M, et al “Myocardial infarction and ischemic heart disease in overweight and obesity with and without metabolic syndrome” as published in JAMA Internal Medicine; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.10522.  Also study by Jackson, C et al “Maintaining a healthy body weight is paramount” as published in JAMA Internal Medicine; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.8298.  The study included 71,527 people enrolled in the Copenhagen General Population Study who were regularly tested on BMI, waist measurement, blood pressure and biochemical analyses.  The study was supported by Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, the Copenhagen County Foundation, and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.  From the American Heart Association: Population-Based Prevention of Obesity: Comprehensive Promotion of Healthful Eating, Physical Activity, and Energy Balance.  Cardiovascular Risk in Asymptomatic Adults.  As reported on November 12, 2013 by MedPage Today and Bloomberg.com. 


Posted: Sunday 24 November 2013