It is a common sense that being overweight or obese is not good for your health. But there is a medical hypothesis, which holds that overweight and obesity may have the positive effect of reducing death caused by heart disease. This is called “obesity paradox.” The largest study of its kind conducted by a European team of health researchers has found that the obesity paradox is false.
Dr. Stamatina Iliodromiti of School of Medicine at the University of Glasgow and his team collected medical database of 296,535 healthy European male and female aged over 40 from Biobank, which stores biological samples for use in research. Based on the database, the researchers studied the correlation between obesity index, such as body mass index (BMI) and waist size, and outbreak of cardiovascular diseases. The result shows that overweight and obese people, regardless of their age, had higher chance of having heart and blood vessel problems, such as high blood pressure, heart failures and strokes.
According to the database, the risk increases as BMI increases beyond 22. As BMI increases above 22, the risk of cardiovascular diseases increases by 13 percent for every 5.2 increase in women and 4.3 in men. The normal range of BMI defined by the World Health Organization is between 18.5 and 25. Even within the normal BMI category, however, the risk of cardiovascular diseases increases beyond 22, the study says.
The risk gets even higher for people with bigger waist size. Women with waist size of 74 centimeters and men with 83 centimeters have the lowest chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. The risk increases by 16 percent in women and 10 percent in men for every 12.6 centimeters and 11.4 centimeters increase in waist size for women and men, respectively. This study has been published in the European Heart Journal on Friday.