link to impact on health

Learn why the conversation about obesity cannot wait for your patients with CVD risk factors

How can obesity contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease?

Obesity can lead to enlarged adipose tissue cells, or adipocytes, which synthesize adipokines. Excessive proinflammatory adipokine secretion can promote low-grade systemic inflammation.1 Increased adipose tissue can further lead to endothelial dysfunction, vascular breakdown, and structural and functional myocardial damage.2

Graphic of artery

Obesity is associated with certain cardiometabolic risk factors, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes.3

Graphic of heart with lighting bolt

Obesity and its related risk factors can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, and heart failure.3,4

A case-cohort study showed


increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with patients with normal weight.5

Analysis of 4,729 individuals from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort who were followed for an average of 14.7 years. Individuals were assessed for their association between genetic predisposition, obesity, and unfavorable lifestyle and developing type 2 diabetes.5


prevalence of dyslipidemia compared with patients with normal weight.6

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002). Dyslipidemia was defined as having ≥1 of the following: Total cholesterol ≥240 mg/dL, TG ≥200 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol ≥160 mg/dL, or HDL cholesterol <40 mg/dL.6

Obesity can lead to cardiovascular disease comorbidities

These CVD risk factors and physiological changes can affect the possibility of CVD complications.3 The impact of long-term BMI changes in overweight or obese adults on the risk of heart failure, CVD, and mortality associated with different BMI trajectories was analyzed in a large population-based cohort study that followed 264,230 United Kingdom residents for a median duration of 10 years7:

Increased risk from Overweight (mean BMI=28.7 kg/m2) to Obesity Class 1 (mean BMI=33.7 kg/m2)7

Graphic of 15, 44, 51 percent risk of cardiovascular disease in obesity

Patients with obesity had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and CVD-related death than those who were only overweight.

Study design: Age-, sex-, and comorbidity-adjusted data derived from 4 different trajectories of the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), a nationally representative database of routinely recorded primary care electronic health records, including 264,320 individuals aged 18 years or older with no preexisting records of CVD, with a recorded or computed BMI ≥25 kg/m2, and subsequent records of BMI during the study period who were followed, on median, 10.9 years. Patients with a mean BMI of 33.7 kg/m2 were considered Obesity Class I.7

Graphic of crystal heart


CVD events included fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction, fatal and nonfatal stroke, congestive heart failure, and cardiovascular death; based on competing HRs adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, and smoking status.

Study design: A population-based study calculated lifetime risk estimates of incident CVD using pooled individual-level data from 190,672 person examinations (1964-2015) totaling 3.2 million person-years from numerous longitudinal cohort studies stratified by index age groups, sex, and BMI. Data included 10 prospective cohort studies in which patients were free of clinical CVD at baseline. Middle-aged, 40 to 59 years.8



Weight loss of 5% to 15% or more can improve11

  • blood sugar levels
  • lipids (cholesterol & triglycerides)
  • blood pressure

BMI, body mass index; CVD, cardiovascular disease; HCP, health care professional; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; HR, hazard ratio; LDL, low-density lipoprotein; TG, triglycerides.

Obesity is caused by a range of factors


Patients may be waiting for HCPs to take that important first step and discuss weight management



1. Heymsfield SB, Wadden TA. Mechanisms, pathophysiology, and management of obesity. N Engl J Med. 2017;376:254-266.

2. Cercato C, Fonseca FA. Cardiovascular risk and obesity. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2019;11:74.

3. Powell-Wiley TM, Poirier P, Burke LE, et al. Obesity and cardiovascular disease: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2021;143(21):e984-e1010.

4. Cohen JB. Hypertension in obesity and the impact of weight loss. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2017;19(10):98.

5. Schnurr TM, Jakupović H, Carrasquilla GD, et al. Obesity, unfavourable lifestyle and genetic risk of type 2 diabetes: a case-cohort study. Diabetologia. 2020;63:(7)1324-1332.

6. Bays HE, Toth PP, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Obesity, adiposity, and dyslipidemia: a consensus statement from the National Lipid Association. J Clin Lipidol. 2013;7(4):304-383.

7. Iyen B, Weng S, Vinogradova Y, Akyea RK, Qureshi N, Kai J. Long-term body mass index changes in overweight and obese adults and the risk of heart failure, cardiovascular disease and mortality: a cohort study of over 260,000 adults in the UK. BMC Public Health. 2021;21(1):576.

8. Khan SS, Ning H, Wilkins JT, et al. Association of body mass index with lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease and compression of morbidity. JAMA Cardiol. 2018;3(4):280-287.

9. Raisi-Estabragh Z, Kobo O, Mieres JH, et al. Racial disparities in obesity-related cardiovascular mortality in the United States: temporal trends from 1999 to 2020. J Am Heart Assoc. 2023;12(18):e028409.

10. Afshin A, Forouzanfar MH, Reitsma MB, et al; GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators. Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(1):13-27.

11. Garvey WT, Mechanick JI, Brett EM, et al. Reviewers of the AACE/ACE Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology comprehensive clinical practice guidelines for medical care of patients with obesity. Endocr Pract. 2016;22(suppl 3):1-203.


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