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Obesity Kills

Increasing weight is associated with a higher prevalence of known risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Until recently it has been assumed that these risk factors have been responsible for the increased risk of heart disease seen in obesity, however a recent study found that obesity is a killer in its own right, irrespective of other biological or social risk factors traditionally associated with coronary heart disease.

The research team tracked the health of more than 6,000 middle-aged men with high cholesterol, but no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, for around 15 years. The results showed that the higher a man’s weight, the higher was his likelihood of having other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Although there was no increased risk of a non-fatal heart attack with increasing BMI, the risk of death was significantly higher in men who were obese.

In the model simply correcting for age and smoking, this risk was 75% higher. And despite correcting for known cardiovascular risk factors, medication, and deprivation in the second model, the risk was still 60% higher.

Inflammation is a strong factor in fatal cardiovascular disease, and obesity is increasingly being recognised as an inflammatory state, which may partly explain how obesity is linked to heart disease, say the study authors.

BMJ-British Medical Journal. “Obesity is heart disease killer in its own right, irrespective of other risk factors.” ScienceDaily, 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 21 Aug. 2012.

Categories: Weight Management, Metabolic Health