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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Aug;27(8):979-82.

Relation of body mass index, physical fitness, and the cardiovascular risk profile in 3127 young normal weight men with an apparently optimal lifestyle.

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  • 1Medical Clinic I, University Hospital of Aachen, Aachen, Germany.


Obesity is a well-accepted cardiovascular risk factor associated with hypertension and hyperlipidaemia. A body mass index (BMI) within the range of 18.5-25 kg/m(2) is considered normal. To prevent cardiovascular diseases regular physical activity and abstinence from smoking are strongly recommended. Since it is not evident that a lower optimal threshold exists concerning cardiovascular risk factors if other lifestyle conditions are apparently optimised, we studied the relation between BMI and vascular risk factors in 3127 hyperhealthy Caucasian males. They were aged between 18 and 23 y, were nonsmokers, without regular alcohol intake, and had at least 3 h of sports activity per week. Their BMI was below 25 kg/m(2). Low BMI revealed to be significantly associated with high physical fitness, low blood pressure, and low serum lipids. The lower the BMI was, the more favourable these parameters were. Thus, the threshold for an optimal BMI concerning cardiovascular risk factors might be far below 25 kg/m(2) even if other lifestyle conditions are apparently optimal.

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