A twist in the Obesity-Cardiovascular disease story

March 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm 2 comments

If you’re like me, you probably think that obesity = increased risk for cardiovascular disease. That’s what I’ve read, studied, and what’s reported in the media.

But I came across something tre interesting this morning.  A recent study has showed that being skinny does not offer any greater protection against cardiac deaths.  In fact, this research showed the OPPOSITE to be true.  This study is the first to assess the relationship between BMI (Body Mass Index) and the risk of sudden cardiac deaths.

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that:

“…non-obese heart failure patients – including overweight, normal and underweight patients – had a 76 percent increase in risk of sudden cardiac death compared to obese heart failure patients. Normal and underweight patients showed a startling 99 percent increase in risk for sudden cardiac death compared to obese patients.”

Record screeching! These findings seem to go against everything we’ve been told. Even the researchers were surprised at the data.

A follow-up program was conducted to further examine this issue.  An analysis of 1,231 patients who had suffered at least one prior heart attack found that decreased BMI was associated with a LARGER increase in the risk of suddent cardiac death.

The article suggests that these findings:

 …”highlight the “obesity paradox,” a phenomenon long recognized by cardiologists that, once afflicted, obese heart failure patients fare better than their slimmer counterparts.”

I’m no cardiologist (but my best friend is!) so I cannot speak for the scientific findings of this study. However, as a card-carrying member of the Health At Every Size Movment and the Association for Size Diversity and Health, this study shows support that health can indeed be found at any size, and being overweight doesn’t necessarily lead to cardiac death.

What are your thoughts?


Entry filed under: nutrition.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Abbey  |  March 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I’d be interested to know more background of the people who conducted the study and certain contributing factos. I don’t believe it. I am all about being happy with yoru body at various sizes and shapes, but it is just plain unhealthy to be obese!

  • 2. Matt  |  March 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    This is a trick of statistics… and the findings are NOT as stated… retrospective non-randomized studies such as these can only report associations… and should never be reported as causality… Obesity does not cause a reduced risk of sudden death… (in fact the opposite is likely true)… If you take a moment to think about it… the most likely explanation of this and other studies with similar findings is that the healthier patients are likely to be heavier BECAUSE they are healthier… and the sickest patients are likely to be very skinny BECAUSE they are sick… Not the reverse… thus the outcomes…


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