Taller, Obese Males at Risk of Deep Vein Blood Clots?

CBS News.com is reporting that being a tall, fat guy greatly increases the risk of something called Thromboembolism, which is a combination of thrombosis, a formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel and embolism, the event of lodging an embolus into a narrow capillary vessel of an arterial bed which causes blockage in a distant part of the body. The condition most commonly occurs in a person’s lungs or lower body.

Sounds complicated? Sure, but in essence, what that really means is that if you’re a tall, fat dude, then you better slim down or risk something bad happening in your blood.


The research was conducted in the University of Tromso in Norway, where height and weight data from 26,714 people was gathered over the span of 12 1/2 years in order to assess the incidence of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE).  During the course of the study, 461 people developed the condition.


If the condition occurs in the lungs, the clot can block blood supply and may lead to death, making this a serious concern indeed. So, if I’m a tall, obese male, how much at risk am I of developing this seriously life-threatening condition? The Norway study shows that, compared to men who are 5 feet 7 inches or shorter, and have normal weight, men who are taller than 5 feet 11.7 inches and are considered obese are 5 times at greater risk of getting the condition.


Of course, though the condition is more likely to occur in taller, obese gentlemen, others can be at risk of it as well. Short, obese men are 2.1 times likely to get the condition, while men who are tall, but of normal weight are 2.6 times likely to get it.

Obese women are, of course, at risk as well, according to the Journal of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. Though they are at a higher risk than women who are at normal weight, the study concluded that height did not play a factor for the females. Whether considered tall or short, obese women are equally likely to get the condition.

The lead researcher of the study, Sigrid Braekkan, also shared some of his rationale why height plays such a factor in getting VTE, at least in males, saying that the blood must be pumped to a longer distance by the calf muscle in taller people. This may cause reduced flow in the legs and raise the risk of clotting. The concern is even greater in cramped spaces, such as in airline seats.


Of course, the only thing to really do is to slim down and trim out obesity. If you’re a tall, obese, male who’s been putting weight loss on hold for a while, hopefully this concern makes it more of a priority, among the many other conditions and diseases that obesity has been known to result in. Get thee to a trainer and eat right!

For now, though, the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality offers some quick tips on preventing blood clots:

  1. Don’t remain sedentary for more than an hour
  2. On plane trips, get up from your seat and move around
  3. Try not to cross your legs
  4. Wear loose-fitting clothing
  5. Reduce salt in your diet

The stakes in the battle against the bulge have been raised once again, so hopefully, people will now rise up from their couches and take notice. It’s your blood, people, and only you can set it right!



  1. http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-tall-obese-clots-20110429,0,5317729.story
  2. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20058558-10391704.html
  3. http://www.doctorslounge.com/index.php/news/pb/19720
  4. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/ATVBAHA.110.218925v1
  5. http://www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart/1200598191688FS29VTE08.pdf
  6. http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/bloodclots.htm
  7. http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/vtguide/
  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thromboembolism


Noel Blanco

Hello, I'm Noel Blanco and I write Fitness Philippines. I have been involved in physical fitness for more than 10 years now and am currently taking up graduate studies on Exercise and Sports Science at the University of the Philippines.

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