Obesity is associated with increased risk of incident coronary heart disease but not necessarily death
posted on: Jul 4, 2012
Obese individuals are at an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease (first event heart attack) but not necessarily death. Individuals identified as obese using body mass index are only associated with an increased risk of death if they are well over the recognised obesity threshold. One of the possible explanations for these findings is that modern medical interventions have contributed to improved survival of first coronary heart disease events. The future health burden of increased obesity levels may manifest as an increase in the number of individuals living with coronary heart disease and its consequences, including reduced quality of life.
Joel Hotchkiss, Carolyn Davies and Alastair Leyland made these findings at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences unit when they examined the association between body size and either mortality, coronary heart disease mortality or incident coronary heart disease (fatal and non-fatal) in the Scottish population over a 13-year period. It was possible to examine three different measures of body size namely body mass index, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio. The research, published this week in the International Journal of Obesity, was funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorate within a programme funded by both the Medical Research Council and the Chief Scientist Office.
The Scottish Health Surveys are representative surveys of the Scottish population that anonymously record information on participants’ health, their lifestyle choices and medical measurements. The majority of participants in the 1995, 1998 and 2003 surveys had consented to their information being linked to death records. Work by the Information Services Division of National Health Service Scotland made it possible to follow 19,329 Scots with no previous cardiovascular disease for up to 13 years; 1278 had died by December 2008 with 212 of these deaths due to coronary heart disease. 789 individuals had suffered a coronary heart disease incident (either a non-fatal or fatal first coronary heart disease event). For each gender the association between body size and the likelihood of dying or suffering a heart attack were separately examined while adjusting for age, alcohol consumption and smoking behaviour.
The study can be viewed here.