Normal cholesterol. Normal blood pressure. Overweight. O.K.?
Middle-aged people who are overweight but have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels may be kidding themselves if they think their health is just fine.
Northwestern University researchers tracked 17,643 patients for three decades and found that being overweight in midlife substantially increased the risk of dying of heart disease later in life — even in people who began the study with healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“Now we have a long-term study,’’ said Ramagopal Tumuluri, an interventional cardiologist who practices at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee. “In our hearts, we always knew this was true.’’ The findings suggest that obesity might work by causing adverse metabolic changes beyond raising blood pressure and cholesterol, he said.
People who had been obese at midlife but were otherwise healthy were 43 percent more likely to die from heart disease after age 65 than normal-weight people. Participants who were modestly overweight but had normal blood pressure and cholesterol still ran a higher risk than the normal-weight people.
In the study, obesity was defined to mean a body mass index greater than 30. Overweight meant a body mass index of from 25.0 to 29.9.
"Every pound (kg) that you put on really does rob you later on in life of health, as well as (increases the) chances you're going to be hospitalized more, and perhaps even die sooner," said study researcher Robert Kushner.
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