In a strange contradiction of conventional wisdom, researchers have found that obese heart patients are less likely to die than those who maintain a normal weight. This is despite the fact that the obese patients in the study, which covered 4400 English and Scottish heart patients, reporting poorer health.
Obesity is a risk factor in heart disease and a variety of other diseases. Obesity is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or above. BMI is determined by comparing height and weight. Despite reporting poorer health, participants in the study who were obese were less likely to die over the next seven years than people with normal weight who also had cardiovascular issues. The study found that those who engaged in physical activity at least once a week and who did not smoke had a lower risk of dying, no matter their weight. However, obese patients who did not exercise nor follow other healthy lifestyle recommendations still had a lower risk of death than their normal weight counterparts who smoked or did not exercise.
While no one is quite certain what is going on, researchers suggest that obese patients are more likely to be treated for cardiovascular conditions more aggressively than people of normal weight, simply for the fact that obesity is a risk factor for heart disease. The researchers also pointed out that BMI is not a reliable indicator of obesity. What is more important in determining risk factors for developing disease is where fat is stored on the body.