Burden of Obesity Gets Heftier

Obesity shown to increase death risk from heart disease regardless of other risk factors

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Obesity has been shown to contribute to fatal coronary artery disease, regardless of other risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

A new 15-year study of 6,000 middle-aged men with high cholesterol but not history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease finds the higher a man's weight, the higher his likelihood of having other risk factors for cardiovascular disease with a particularly higher risk of death for men with an obese body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.

A total of 214 deaths occurred during the study along with 1,027 non-fatal heart attacks/strokes. An increasing BMI correlated with increasing risk of heart disease and mortality. In a model adjusted for smoking and age, the risk of death for obese men was 75 percent higher than those who were not obese. This percentage shrank only to 60 percent when researchers adjusted for known cardiovascular risks and medication.

These alarming figures may be the unfortunate result of inflammation, a strong factor in cardiovascular disease. (Obesity is increasingly being recognized as an inflammatory state.)

Obesity has definitively been linked to health complications including stroke, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which burden America with billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs.

Also, obesity negatively impacts America's ability to compete in the global market by costing billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 15, 2011
Last Updated:
February 16, 2011