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Am J Med Sci. 2001 Apr;321(4):215-24.

Obesity and coronary heart disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


Obesity is commonly cited as a risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). Epidemiologic studies tend to support this contention, particularly those focusing on patients with central obesity. Such studies however, are imprecise and prone to misclassification bias. Angiographic and post mortem studies have demonstrated little or no correlation of total fat mass and coronary atherosclerosis except in those with abdominal obesity. There is a strong association of obesity, particularly central obesity, and traditional risk factors for CHD such as hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia. There may also be an association between obesity and several nontraditional risk factors such as hyperhomocystinemia, elevated Lp(a) levels and factors that increase thrombogenesis. Obesity may also alter endothelial function. Weight loss, although associated with favorable modification of multiple risk factors for CHD, has not been shown to independently and definitively reduce CHD risk.

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