Those who are obese or overweight have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease earlier in life than people who are a healthy weight, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions.
Funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and using data from the Lifetime Risk Pooling Project, this new study provides insight into the "obesity paradox" suggested in previous studies in which overweight or obese people, who are defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25, may live longer than people with a normal BMI.
A BMI for people of normal weight is between 18.5 and 25, according to the American Heart Association.
“We wanted to focus on
both the risk of cardiovascular events and implications in terms of healthy
longevity – living without cardiovascular disease – by weight status,” Dr. Sadiya Khan, an instructor of medicine at Northwestern
University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said in American Heart Association announcement.
Looking at 72,490 participants and focusing on middle-aged people with an average age of 55, the study found that overweight and obese people live a slightly shorter or comparable amount of time as people with a normal body weight.
However, overweight and obese people have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and they develop cardiovascular issues at younger ages than people with normal weight. For example, middle-aged women who participated in the study had cardiovascular issues 1.8 years earlier when overweight and 4.3 years earlier when obese. Moreover, the average number of years living with cardiovascular disease is longer among people who are overweight and obese.
“Our findings suggest that
health care providers need to continue to be aware of the increased risk of
earlier cardiovascular disease faced by overweight and obese people,” Khan
said. “Health care providers should emphasize the importance of maintaining
healthy weight throughout their lives to live longer, healthier lives.”
Being overweight increases the risk of cardiovascular disease at younger ages
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