A new Australian study has linked increases in BMI to cardiovascular disease risk.
The Sax Institute's 45 and Up study measured how increases in BMI increased the risk of a person going to hospital for a number of cardiovascular diseases. 158,000 NSW residents aged 45 and up with no history of heart disease over the previous four years were tracked during the study.
The study found that risk of heart attack and angina rises as a person’s BMI number rises regardless of factors such as exercise, or whether the person has diabetes or smokes. Each five unit increase in BMI (about 10kg of additional weight) increases the risk of heart attack and angina by 23 per cent.
The study found that the average man (175cm) would be at increased risk if he weighed more than 62kg while women of average height (162cm) are at increased risk from 53kg.
Heart attack, stroke and blood vessel diseases (cardiovascular disease) are the leading causes of death in Australia, claiming 45,600 lives alone during 2011. One in six Australians is affected by cardiovascular disease while 1.4 million Australians currently carry a disability preventing them from living a full life because of the disease.
Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause for hospitalisation in 2009-10 with 482,000 occurrences while it played a secondary role in the hospitalisation of a further 800,000 people. Recent analyses predict a continued rise in BMI for both males and females.
The way we live and work in Australia has changed significantly since the introduction of computers. Not only are we taking fewer steps per day meaning fewer calories are burnt, but the average Australian is consuming both food and drink which is highly processed and sugar laden and, as a consequence, becoming progressively overweight.
I have witnessed cardiovascular disease first hand with my mother having a heart attack two years ago. She was lucky in the sense that her heart attack was minor but, nevertheless, she has been left partially disabled. I’m hoping history doesn’t repeat itself when I am older and so will be monitoring my BMI very closely.
Have you or anyone you know ever had a heart attack, stroke or blood vessel diseases? Did this make you re-think your life style? Should we be limiting the amount of fatty and high sugar foods on sale in Australia?
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