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Weight and Obesity Cardio-Vascular

Debunking The Obesity Paradox

1 year, 2 months ago

2517  0
Posted on Mar 23, 2018, 2 p.m.

There is a common misconception that individuals who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease will live longer if they are overweight/obese as compared to individuals who are of normal/average weight at the time of diagnosis has been debunked with a study that has counterintuitive findings as published in JAMA Cardiology.


It might be a good idea to not eat that entire carton of ice cream as a new study shows that obese people live shorter lives with a greater proportion of their lives with cardiovascular disease according to researchers at Northwestern Medicine. For the first time a study has been able to provide perspective on the lifetime risks of developing cardiovascular disease and death after diagnosis of cardiovascular disease for overweight, normal weight, and obese individuals.


Similar longevity between normal and overweight individuals have been found in this study, with a higher risk for individuals who are overweight of developing cardiovascular disease during their lifetime and more years spent with cardiovascular disease than those who are of normal/average weight.


This obesity paradox has caused much confusion and potential damage because it has been well documented of the risks associated with obesity and cardiovascular diseases. The simple fact is that weight loss not only will decrease risks of developing heart disease, but it will also help decreases risks of developing other diseases such as cancer. Data from this study adds to the wealth of knowledge that you will live healthier for longer at a normal weight.


Body Mass Index defines obesity as having 30-39.9, overweight is 25-29.9. Body Mass Index is a individual’s weight divided by the square of height. For example an individual that is 5’4” weighing 160 lbs would be considered overweight, an individual that is 5’4” weighing 190 lbs would be considered as obese.


Odds are higher of heart failure, stroke, heart attack, and death from heart disease according to this study. It was found that the likelihood of having a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or cardiovascular death in overweight men aged 40-59 was 29% higher than normal weight men, with odds being 32% higher for overweight women in the same age group. Likelihood of having a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or cardiovascular death in obese men aged 40-59 was 67% higher than normal weight men, with odds being 85% higher for obese women in the same age group. Normal weight middle aged men lived 1.9 years longer than obese men and lived 6 years longer than morbidly obese men, normal weight men had similar longevity to overweight men, with normal weight middle aged women living 1.4 years longer than overweight women and living 3.4 years longer than morbidly obese women.


Researchers examined data collected from 190,672 in person examinations on an individual basis spread across 10 large scale prospective cohorts with an aggregate of 3.2 million years of follow up. Participants were all free of any cardiovascular disease at study onset having objectively measured and assessed BMI recorded. Cardiovascular disease was assessed on follow up overall and by type including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease, or cardiovascular death as well as noncardiovascular death.


Being overweight/obese with cardiovascular disease is detrimental to health. Living a life that maintains a healthy weight promotes a healthy longevity and/or longer healthspan in addition to lifespan so that the greater years are also healthier, having a much better quality of life, science backs that up.



Materials provided by Northwestern University.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Sadiya S. Khan, Hongyan Ning, John T. Wilkins, Norrina Allen, Mercedes Carnethon, Jarett D. Berry, Ranya N. Sweis, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones. Association of Body Mass Index With Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Compression of Morbidity. JAMA Cardiology, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2018.0022


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