Obesity and High Blood Pressure, a Weaker Link?

Some new research claims that obesity might not increase blood pressure like previously believed. Reuters reports:
It seems that the association between body mass index (BMI) and high blood pressure or hypertension has decreased since 1989, researchers say. The finding suggests that obesity may not have as much of an impact on heart-related disease as previously thought.

"High blood pressure is a leading cause of the global burden of disease," Dr. Pascal Bovet, of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues write in the medical journal Epidemiology. "The prevalence of hypertension, and of several other conditions (including diabetes), is considered to be linked to the worldwide epidemic of obesity."

The researchers examined trends in blood pressure and BMI over a 15-year interval in the Seychelles. Their analysis was based on two independent surveys conducted in 1989 and 2004 using representative samples of the population between the ages of 25 and 64 years.

There was a slight decrease in average blood pressure between 1989 and 2004 in both men and women. The prevalence of high blood pressure changed little during this time -- from 45 to 44 percent in men and from 34 to 36 percent in women.
Okay, I don't know if this is really true or not. The important thing to remember is carrying excess weight sets you up for increased health problems—period. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat to Live:
Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue—extra weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm.1 Overweight individuals are more likely to die from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Two-thirds of those with weight problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or another obesity related condition.2 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.3

1. Must, A.,J. Spadano, E.H. Coakley, et al. 1999. The disease burden associated with overweight and obesity. JAMA 282 (16): 1523-29.

2. Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. 1998. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reprint. Bethesda, Md.: National Institutes of Health.

3.Must, Spadano, et al. Op. cit.; Allison, D.B., K.R. Fontaine, J.E. Manson, et. al. 1999. Annual deaths attributable to obesity in the United States. JAMA 282 (16): 1530-38.

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