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Overweight, obesity, coronary heart disease, and mortality

, : Overweight, obesity, coronary heart disease, and mortality. Nutrition today 15(4): 16-22

The view is presented that in the absence of hypertension, overweight is not a risk factor for early mortality. Insurance companies have long proposed that overweight increases mortality risk, and especially risk of early death from coronary heart disease. Actuarial data are statistically misleading, however, and insurance tables of "ideal" or "desirable" weight are invalid. The insurance company approach lacks multivariate analysis of other mortality risk factors, such as blood pressure, plasma lipids and cholesterol, dietary habits and smoking. Epidemiological studies present opposing evidence demonstrating no significant association between coronary deaths and overweight. In the Framingham study, death from all causes in both sexes was negatively correlated with relative weight, especially in men. Other findings conclude that in order to avoid early death, it is best to be somewhat above the average in relative body weight. Measures of relative weight give poor estimates of obesity (body fatness), however, and some indications exist that body fatness is more predictive of coronary heart disease and death, than is relative body weight.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1980.tb05967.x

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