News Flash > Cardiovascular Health


BMI, Waist Size Predict Heart Disease

Reported December 08, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- When body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, both well known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), are properly measured by trained staff, they can accurately predict the risk of fatal and non-fatal disease.

Results from a large prospective study of more than 20,000 Dutch men and women aged 20 to 65 years show the associations of BMI and waist circumference with heart disease are equally strong and are responsible for one half of all fatal and one quarter of non-fatal CVD in those who are overweight and obese.

Between 1993 and 1997, the Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases (MORGEN) of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands professionally measured both BMI and waist circumference in a cohort of 20,500 men and women. All subjects in the study were linked to hospital discharge and national cause-of-death records.

When age-adjusted BMI and waist circumference measurements were correlated with hospital records and cause-of-death statistics, results showed that in those categorized as overweight and obese, around one half of all fatal CVD and one quarter of all non-fatal CVD were ascribed to the fact that the individual was overweight or obese.



Commenting on the public health implications of the study, principal investigator Ineke van Dis from the Netherlands Heart Foundation was quoted as saying, "Throughout Western Europe -- as in the Netherlands -- there has been a decline in cardiovascular mortality in recent years, which is reflected in a prevalence shift from mortality to morbidity. What this study shows is the substantial effect which overweight and obesity have on cardiovascular disease, whether fatal or non-fatal. In the near future, the impact of obesity on the burden of heart disease will be even greater.


For consumer groups and our national heart foundations, these findings underline the need for policies and activities to prevent overweight in the general population, and I think that general practitioners and cardiologists can do even more to tackle these problems, especially in obese patients under 65 years, as highlighted in this study."

SOURCE: European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, December 7, 2009