Is There a Risk of MI and IHD in Overweight and Obese Individuals Regardless of Metabolic Syndrome?

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Regardless of metabolic syndrome, being overweight and obese are risk factors for myocardial infarction (MI) and ischemic heart disease (IHD) according to a study published Nov. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study examined 71,527 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study and found that for MI, multivariable adjusted hazards ratios versus normal weight individuals without metabolic syndrome were 1.26 (95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.00-1.61) in overweight and 1.88 (95 percent CI, 1.34-2.63) in obese individuals without metabolic syndrome. In individuals with metabolic syndrome, the results showed 1.39 (95 percent CI, 0.96-2.02) in normal weight, 1.70 (95 percent CI, 1.35-2.15) in overweight and 1.33 (95 percent CI, 1.81-3.00) in obese participants. Results for individuals with IHD were similar to those for individuals with MI.

“These findings suggest that overweight and obesity even in the absence of metabolic syndrome are not benign conditions and that weight loss should be encouraged regardless of the presence or absence of metabolic syndrome to reduce risk of MI and IHD,” the study authors note.

In a related commentary, Chandra L. Jackson, PhD, MS, and Meir J. Stampfer, MD, DrPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston note that the study “adds important new evidence to counter the common belief in the scientific and lay communities that the adverse health effects of overweight are generally inconsequential as long as the individual is metabolically healthy.” They write that the results also “underscore the importance of focusing on weight gain prevention due to the difficulty in achieving and maintaining weight loss to reverse being overweight or obese.”

Keywords: Metabolic Syndrome, Myocardial Infarction, Weight Loss, Boston, Risk Factors, Obesity, Confidence Intervals, Weight Gain

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