Severe overweight: risk of complications may be higher than expected
Those who weigh too many pounds are at risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. The risk increases with weight and can be as much as 10 times higher with obesity than with normal weight. This was shown by a large international meta study.
Scientists from University College London scrutinized the data of over 120,000 people from the United States and Europe with an average age of 50. The results of 16 studies were included in the evaluation. The subjects provided information about their lifestyle in questionnaires. Body weight was assessed using the body mass index (BMI), which indicates the ratio of weight (in kg) to body size (in m to square).
If the BMI exceeds 25, one speaks of being overweight. This fixed value is controversial, but reflects a trend. By definition, obesity is present from a BMI of 30. It is divided into different degrees of severity: with a BMI of 30 to 35 it is grade 1 obesity, between 35 to 40 it is severe second degree obesity and with a BMI over 40 it is particularly severe third degree obesity.
The subjects were healthy at the start of the study. Over the course of more than 10 years, 1,627 men and women fell ill with at least two of the following diseases: cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. It was shown that excessive body weight significantly increases the risk of the complex clinical picture. It was twice as high for overweight, five times for obesity of the first degree and 15 times for obesity of the second and third degree. The relationship was independent of gender, age and ethnic origin.
The increased risk could not be explained by unhealthy lifestyles such as low physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption, which are often associated with being overweight. The results have an impact on practice, can be read in the specialist magazine "The Lancet Public Health". Excessive body weight not only promotes the development of type 2 diabetes and vascular diseases alone, but also the complex clinical picture. Obese patients with vascular diseases should also be examined for diabetes. For heavyweight diabetics, medical professionals should keep an eye on cardiovascular diseases. (BZfE)