Obesity Itself Is an Independent Risk Factor for Heart Failure

Researchers from Barcelona, Spain published the results of a recent prospective cohort study in the journal, Clinical Cardiology [1].

The study included 932 randomly selected patients without heart failure from a registered population of 35.275.  The patients themselves ranged in age from 35-84 and were followed for a duration of 10 years.

The study authors found that there was a 3.1% difference in heart failure incidence between obese and non obese subjects.  When the researchers adjusted their data for variables including:  age, sex, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and diabetes mellitus, they found that the results were similar.  In fact, those patients with obesity (BMI >30) had 2.45 x the risk of incident heart failure compared to non obese.

What’s more is that the researchers found that the population attributable risk for HF due to obesity was 43%.  This basically means that there would be a 43% lower incidence of heart failure if obesity didn’t exist in the population studied.

In contrast, being merely overweight (BMI 25-30) was not associated with heart failure in any of the models.

Given that many of us have overindulged during the holiday season, I hope I’m not making anyone feel guilty.  However, it’s important to connect the consequences of our behaviour in order to make positive changes for the New Year!


  1. Baena-Díez JM, Byram AO, Grau M, Gómez-Fernández C, Vidal-Solsona M, Ledesma-Ulloa G, González-Casafont I, Vasquez-Lazo J, Subirana I, Schroder H. Obesity is an independent risk factor for heart failure: zona franca cohort study. Clin Cardiol. 2010 Dec;33(12):760-4. doi: 10.1002/clc.20837.

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