Midlife Obesity Affects Health Later On
Weight Linked to Late-Life Heart, Diabetes Deaths
WebMD News Archive
Weight Matters continued...
Compared with their normal-weight, low-risk counterparts, the obese people
in the study also had four times the risk of hospitalization for heart disease
and 11 times the risk of dying of diabetes.
Low-risk people who were overweight but not obese had a higher risk of death
and hospitalization from cardiovascular disease and diabetes than their
normal-weight counterparts and a lower risk than people who were obese.
"Our study is unique in that we had a very long follow up of over 30
years," says Yan, who is a research assistant professor at Northwestern and
an assistant professor at China's Peking University.
"This is only one study, but it adds to the existing picture of the
health consequences of obesity. It is important to try and maintain a healthy
body weight and to work to lose weight or at least not gain more weight if you
already are overweight or obese."
Lose Weight, Get Moving
The American Heart Association has long recognized obesity as a major risk
factor for cardiovascular disease -- one of six modifiable risk factors along
with smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, and
AHA spokesman and cardiologist Gerald Fletcher, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in
Jacksonville, Fla., tells WebMD that while most people who are obese also have
other cardiovascular risk factors, this isn't always the case.
He says carrying extra weight puts excess strain on the heart, which could
help explain its role in increasing heart attack and stroke risk despite other
Fletcher says people can lower their cardiovascular risk by losing weight,
not smoking, keeping high blood pressure and cholesterol under control with
medication, and getting active.
That means walking or doing something else to get your heart rate up from 30
to 60 minutes a day, six to seven days a week, he says. He adds that only about
one in four people in the U.S. get enough cardiovascular exercise.
"You don't have to do it all at once," he says. "You can spread
it throughout the day, but our data tell us that most people still aren't doing
it. And about 17% of the country is not exercising at all."