Obesity and overweight multiply the risk of suffering cancer or a cardiovascular disease

The World Health Organisation estimates that obesity now affects over 650 million people worldwide. Being overweight or suffering from obesity exponentially increases the risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease or cancer. This is the conclusion of the FRESCO (Spanish Risk Function of Coronary and Other Events) Study, led by researchers from the IMIM and doctors from the Hospital del Mar, which has analysed the monitoring over 10 years of 54,446 people from 7 autonomous communities.

The obesity epidemic hits women harder. Thus, obese women have a 5 times higher risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease and 12 times more possibilities of developing cancer than those who have a normal weight. If they are overweight, even if they do not reach obesity, an increase in the risk is maintained that is double the possibilities in the case of cardiovascular disorders and four times higher in the case of oncological conditions.

The influence of weight on male health is maintained on a lower scale. Thus, obesity multiples by two the possibilities of developing some type of cancer but does not have a significant influence in the case of cardiovascular diseases.

Obese women have a 5 times higher risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease and 12 times higher risk of developing cancer

Only 26% of the population are at a normal weight

Of over 54,000 people who took part in the study, men and women aged from 35 to 79 years, over 25,000 were overweight and 15,000 obese. Therefore, only 26% were of a weight considered normal (below 25 points on the Body Mass Index (MBC). It is the first time in Spain that a group of this size has been analysed, ruling out the possible effects of other disorders related to weight, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Researchers consider that the results of the study are very worrying. It is necessary to seek strategies for the development of activities that promote a healthy diet, physical activity, disease screening and establish prevention policies that affect the whole of the population, to help reduce the prevalence of obesity

Obesity is a potentially serious medical condition that causes, in apparently healthy people, an increase in the risk of death due to diverse reasons. This situation “goes beyond an aesthetic problem and obliges us to adopt preventive and treatment measures that are not always easy to follow”. To achieve this, improving lifestyle habits is the basis of treatment, changing dietary habits and increasing physical activity. Small reductions in weight produce major benefits for health. In this sense, in the case of a country with an average life expectancy of 80 years, people with some type of overweight who at the age of 40 lose 5 kg of weight and do not recover them will reduce their risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases by 20%. Among women, this level of weight reduction will also mean another 20% reduction in the risk of dying from cancer.


Reference article

Barroso M, Goday A, Ramos R, Marín-Ibáñez A, Guembe MJ, Rigo F, Tormo-Díaz MJ, Moreno-Iribas C, Cabré JJ, Segura A, Baena-Díez JM, Gómez de la Cámara A, Lapetra J, Quesada M, Medrano MJ, Berjón J, Frontera G, Gavrila D, Barricarte A, Basora J, García JM, García-Lareo M, Lora-Pablos D, Mayoral E, Grau M*, Marrugat J*, FRESCO Investigators. Interaction between cardiovascular risk factors and body mass index and 10-year incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer death, and overall mortality. Prev Med 2018; 107:81-89.



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