Show Details

Obesity Paradox

June 23, 2009

People who are already obese when they first develop cardiovascular disease have better prognoses than thinner patients.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
A mysterious upside to obesity…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Obesity raises your risk of getting cardiovascular disease. Yet, in study after study, people who are already obese when they first develop cardiovascular disease live longer than leaner patients. Cardiologist Carl Lavie of Oschner Medical Center of New Orleans recently reviewed the data. He says one possible explanation is that obese people tend to get heart disease for predictable and relatively manageable reasons, like high blood pressure.

CARL LAVIE (Oschner Medical Center, New Orleans):
On the other hand, when a thin person develops a heart attack, they’ve developed their heart attack for probably a different reason to begin with.

HIRSHON:
… For example, a genetic disorder that’s hard to identify or treat. Lavie adds that some biological aspects of obesity may even be protective. But he stresses that the known risks of obesity probably outweigh any theoretical benefit. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.