Just like a good Mythbusters episode, researchers have gone and blown the ‘obesity paradox’ theory out of the water.
While some schools of thought believed that being overweight didn’t necessarily mean you were at higher risk of heart disease, a study of 300 thousand people proves otherwise.
In fact, there had even been studies suggesting that being overweight may even have a ‘good’ protective effect on people if they were elderly!
Glaswegian researchers found people with a BMI of 22-23 had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) but the CVD increased in both men and women as their BMI increased.
Those hard-to-budge waistlines weren’t spared in the study.
Women with a waistline of 74cm had a 16% increase in CVD for every 12.6cm added. Men with a 83cm waistline had a 10% increase in CVD for every 11.4cm added. Other reliable indicators of body fat (such as waist-to-hip and waist-to-height ratios) showed similar increases in CVD risk.
For healthy people, maintaining a BMI of 22-23 can minimize your risk of heart disease and the less fat you have (especially around the tummy) the better. If that’s a difficult level to achieve, even just a few kilograms weight loss will help.
So what was with all the confusion over the ‘obesity paradox’ existing anyway? Researchers put it down to other factors such as pre-existing illnesses or smoking, which changes the distribution of fact and lowers weight by suppressing appetite (which is NOT an excuse to smoke by the way!).
The simple answer to steering clear of blood vessel problems such as heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure is just to stay lean.