Even slightly overweight is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases

Doctors disprove the so-called obesity paradox

There have been increasing contradictory statements recently about whether a little overweight can be healthy for people. Researchers have now found that it is impossible to be fat and fit. In other words, being overweight is always unhealthy and promotes heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.

  • Experts disprove the obesity paradox.
  • Even slightly overweight can lead to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Fat athletic people still have an increased risk.
  • The risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases increases with weight.
  • Lean people are better protected against cardiovascular diseases.
  • So-called belly fat is particularly dangerous for health.
  • Being overweight also increases your risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

The University of Glasgow scientists found in their current study that being slightly overweight is by no means healthy and can lead to various serious illnesses. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "European Heart Journal".

What is the BMI?

In their research, the researchers tried to find out how the risk of heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure changes when the Body Mass Index (BMI) increases slightly. The experts found that the risk increased when the BMI rose above 23. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is actually classified as normal and healthy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight only starts at a BMI of 25 and obesity from a BMI of 30. The so-called BMI refers to the ratio of height to weight.

What is the obesity paradox?

The results question the long-held belief that it is possible to be fat and yet not suffer from an increased risk of death from heart disease, which is by far the leading cause of death in Germany. Obesity or even obesity does not have to affect the risk of death from cardiovascular disease if people maintain an adequate level of fitness, so far, so far. This statement is also known as the obesity paradox.

Almost 300,000 subjects were examined

The scientists examined almost 300,000 people for their study. At the start of the study, the participants were 40 to 69 years old and physically healthy. When evaluating the data, the doctors also considered other influencing factors such as smoking or high blood pressure. The results show that the more fat a person carries around the waist, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease. The risk of cardiovascular death in women increases by 16 percent for every 12.6 cm waist increase. In men, this risk increases by 10 percent for every 11.4 cm increase in waist size. Women with a waist circumference of 74 centimeters and men with 83 centimeters waist have the lowest risk of cardiovascular problems.

An increase in the BMI of 5.2 points in turn led to a 13 percent higher risk of cardiovascular diseases in women. An increase in the BMI of 4.3 points in men causes a comparable increase in risk. Any public misunderstanding of a possible protective effect of fat on the risk of stroke and heart disease should therefore be questioned, explains the study author Dr. Stamatina Iliodromiti.

Belly fat is a particularly strong risk factor

By maintaining a BMI of around 22 to 23, healthy people can minimize their risk of developing or dying from heart disease, the experts explain. The less fat people have around their stomach, the lower the risk of future heart disease. Belly fat is a particularly strong risk factor because, unlike fat deposits directly under the skin, it leads to an increased release of messenger substances, which promote inflammation, which then causes damage to blood vessels. Regardless of the BMI, if overweight and obese people lose a few kilograms, this will improve the health of those affected, the doctors explain.

Other health effects of being overweight

There are no disadvantages when overweight people lose weight through exercise, diet or changing their diet. Those affected therefore need better support if they want to lose weight, the researchers emphasize. In their view, the current study results could have an impact on guidelines for the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases in the future. Obesity not only affects the cardiovascular system, but also increases the risk of high blood pressure and metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes.

Obesity also makes it difficult for people affected to exercise enough. Of course, the causes of weight gain in those affected are different. Nevertheless, the slimmer the person, the lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. This should also be made clear to the public. If people want to be as healthy as possible, they should also keep a slim figure in order to minimize their risk of illness. (as)

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Video: CardioSmart. Risk Factors for Heart Disease: Fats (August 2021).