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Increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) Raises Heart Disease Risk

Posted May 27 2012 10:09pm
Posted on May 25, 2012, 6 a.m. in Cardio-Vascular | Weight and Obesity |

Body Mass Index (BMI) has been long recognized as a risk factor for heart disease, and Danish study data now establishes a causal contribution of BMI to heart disease risk.  Borge G. Nordestgaard, from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and colleagues used genetic data from the Copenhagen General Population Study, the Copenhagen City Heart Study and the Copenhagen Ischemic Heart Disease Study, employing a genetic variation known to be related to BMI to measure the true causal effect between this and ischemic heart disease.  In observational estimates, the researchers found that for every 4 kg increase in BMI a 26% increase in odds for developing ischemic heart disease, while causal analysis identified a 52% increase. Reporting that: “These data add evidence to support a causal link between increased [body mass index] and [ischemic heart disease] risk,” the study authors urge that: “This work has important policy implications for public health, given the continuous nature of the [body mass index and ischemic heart disease] risk association and the modifiable nature of BMI.”

Borge G. Nordestgaard, Tom M. Palmer, Marianne Benn, Jeppe Zacho, Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, George Davey Smith, Nicholas J. Timpson.  “The Effect of Elevated Body Mass Index on Ischemic Heart Disease Risk: Causal Estimates from a Mendelian Randomisation Approach.”  PLoS Medicine, May 1, 2012.

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