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Obesity-related heart disease can be reduced

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Lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar could halve obesity-related risk of heart disease and stroke, finds a collection of studies published in The Lancet.

A pooled analysis of 97 prospective studies from around the world found that the increased risk of heart disease or stroke in overweight or obese people is partly because their weight increases their chances of having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood glucose.

The study, by a worldwide research consortium, led by a team from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Imperial College London, and the University of Sydney, covered a total of 1.8 million participants.

The study found that high blood pressure, serum cholesterol and blood glucose explained up to half of the increased risk of heart disease and three quarters of the increased risk of stroke among overweight or obese people.

Co-author Professor Majid Ezzati, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: ‘Controlling hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes through medication is useful, but not enough to offset the harms of overweight and obesity. So we need to need to find creative approaches that can curb and reverse the global obesity epidemic.'

Worldwide, obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, according to a previous study by the research team, and more than 1.4 billion adults aged 20 and older are overweight or obese. Being overweight increases one's risk of heart disease and stroke - the leading causes of death worldwide - diabetes, and several types of cancer. The researchers had also previously estimated that 3.4 million annual deaths are due to excess weight and obesity.

Funding for the study came from the UK Medical Research Council; the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Biomedical Research Centre; the US National Institutes of Health; the Lown Scholars in Residence Program on cardiovascular disease prevention; and from a Harvard Global Health Institute Doctoral Research Grant.

To read the full study visit: http://bit.ly/1c4YjHQ

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