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Eur Heart J. 2004 Jan;25(2):121-8.

Overweight and obesity in patients with established coronary heart disease: are we meeting the challenge?

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Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.



Several epidemiological studies have reported increasing obesity rates in the general population during last decades. We studied the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the high priority group of patients with established coronary heart disease (CHD) and the therapeutic control of manageable coronary risk factors in relation to body mass index.


Data from a representative sample of patients having experienced a recent cardiac event before the age of 71 years from 15 European centres participating in the EUROASPIRE II study, were gathered in the period 1999-2000 through standardized methods. In total, 5535 coronary patients with valid height and weight measurements were included.


About one in three patients (31%) was diagnosed as obese with additionally half of the patient population being overweight (48%). Obesity was 10% more prevalent among women and significantly less smokers were observed among overweight and obese subjects, twice as many diabetics and more people with low education. Overweight and obese patients had more frequently raised blood pressure and elevated cholesterol after adjustment for age, gender, education, diabetes and centre. In patients using blood pressure lowering agents, 56% of obese and 51% of overweight patients were still having raised blood pressure compared to 42% in normal weight patients. A similar result was observed for the therapeutic control of total cholesterol. Since their hospital discharge, obese and overweight patients did not alter lifestyles regarding fat intake and physical activity. In the period between coronary event and interview, body weight had increased with at least five kilograms in a quarter of all patients.


These results suggest that the growing population of overweight and obese coronary patients is at particularly high risk for further cardiovascular complications due to elevated risk factor levels on the one hand and their insufficient therapeuticcontrol on the other hand. Our results also confirm the considerable weight gain seen in a high proportion of patients following their cardiac event.

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