The new study by University of Texas Southwestern researcher Edward Harry Livingston was presented at Experimental Biology 2004 as part of The American Physiological Society's scientific sessions.
Dr. Livingston, a surgeon who performs bariatric surgery for the extremely obese, says obesity clearly causes diabetes and hypertension, which in turn cause cardiovascular diseases. Yet, he points out, several large studies have failed to show that obesity and mortality are clearly related. For that reason, he used data from the NHIS and NHANES III surveys to determine the relationships between obesity, cardiovascular mortality, and individual cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. He also looked at body shape as defined by circumference of waists and thighs.
Death from cardiovascular disease increased steadily for women once they passed a body mass index of 25 (approximately 160 lbs. for a 5'6" woman) until they reached body mass index of 30 (approximately 185 lbs.), then it leveled off. Based on obesity alone, a woman was no more likely to die at a body mass index of 50 (approximately 310 lbs.) than at 35. For men, death from cardiovascular death continued to climb as body mass index climbed. Only blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic, increased in anything resembling a similar pattern.
The worst combination of cardiovascular risk factors, irrespective of weight, was foun
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