-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- A large new study is the
first to show a direct link between a high body-mass index and the
risk of developing heart disease, British and Danish researchers
Body-mass index (BMI) is a measurement based on height and
weight. People with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 are normal weight while
those with a BMI of 30 or more are obese. Those in between are
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than
75,000 people in Copenhagen and found that those with a high BMI
had a 26 percent increased risk of developing heart disease.
Further analysis using genetic and other data showed that a BMI
increase of 4 points increases the risk of heart disease by no less
than 52 percent.
"By doing epidemiological studies combined with genetic analysis, we have been able to show in a group of nearly 76,000 persons that a high BMI is enough in itself to damage the heart," Borge Nordestgaard, chief physician at Copenhagen University Hospital, said in a university news release.
"Observational studies have also suggested a relationship between heart disease and obesity, but that is not enough to prove a direct correlation. Obese people can share characteristics or lifestyle traits that have an influence on both the heart and weight. Or there can be a reverse causality, that is, it is the diseased heart that causes obesity and not the other way round," said Nordestgaard, who is also a clinical professor in the health and medical sciences faculty at the university.
The study was published May 1 in the journal
Study co-author Dr. Nicholas Timpson, a lecturer in genetic
epidemiology at the University of Bristol in England, noted in the
news release: "In light of rising obesity levels, these findings
are fundamental to improving public health. Our research shows that
shifting to a lifestyle that promotes a lower BMI -- even if it
does nothing else -- will reduce the odds of developing the
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases has more about the
health risks of being overweight.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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