Obesity as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease: a 26-year follow-up of participants in the Framingham Heart Study.
The relationship between the degree of obesity and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) was reexamined in the 5209 men and women of the original Framingham cohort. Recent observations of disease occurrence over 26 years indicate that obesity, measured by Metropolitan Relative Weight, was a significant independent predictor of CVD, particularly among women. Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that Metropolitan Relative Weight, or percentage of desirable weight, on initial examination predicted 26-year incidence of coronary disease (both angina and coronary disease other than angina), coronary death and congestive heart failure in men independent of age, cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, cigarettes, left ventricular hypertrophy and glucose intolerance. Relative weight in women was also positively and independently associated with coronary disease, stroke, congestive failure, and coronary and CVD death. These data further show that weight gain after the young adult years conveyed an increased risk of CVD in both sexes that could not be attributed either to the initial weight or the levels of the risk factors that may have resulted from weight gain. Intervention in obesity, in addition to the well established risk factors, appears to be an advisable goal in the primary prevention of CVD.