Obese or overweight people
who lower their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels could cut
their risk of heart disease and stroke by more than half, a new study
Researchers analysed 97
studies that included a total of more than 1.8 million people worldwide. They
found that high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels explain up
to half of overweight and obese people's increased risk of heart disease. And
those same factors account for three-quarters of their increased risk of
High blood pressure posed
the greatest threat, accounting for 31% of the increased risk of heart disease
and 65% of the increased risk of stroke, according to the study, published
online in The Lancet.
"Our results show that
the harmful effects of overweight and obesity on heart disease and stroke
partly occur by increasing blood pressure, serum cholesterol and blood
[sugar]," senior study author Goodarz Danaei, an assistant professor of
global health at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said in a school
news release. Therefore, controlling these risk factors – for example, through
better diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure – can prevent some of
the harmful effects of overweight and obesity, he added.
Obesity doubled worldwide
Obesity has nearly doubled
worldwide since 1980. More than 1.4 billion adults aged 20 and older are
overweight or obese. Health problems associated with overweight and obesity
include heart disease and stroke – the leading causes of death worldwide –
diabetes, and several types of cancer.
Moreover, about 3.4 million
people worldwide die each year because of overweight and obesity, according to
Study co-author Majid Ezzati,
a professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, said
controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes will be "an essential
but partial and temporary response" to the obesity epidemic.
"As we use these
effective tools, we need to find creative approaches that can curb and reverse
the global obesity epidemic," Ezzati said in the news release.
The US National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute has more about overweight