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13-09-2009 | Cardiology | Article

Normal weight obesity syndrome increases risk for cardiovascular disease


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MedWire News: Normal weight obesity syndrome is associated with increased risk for dyslipidemia, hypertension, and hyperglycemia, report researchers.

The syndrome of normal weight obesity has recently attracted attention for its potential to increase cardiovascular risk. It is defined as a body mass index (BMI) below 25 kg/m2 and a percentage body fat above the gender specific tertile – 38% for women and 26% for men.

For this study, Pedro Marques-Vidal (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) and colleagues assessed 3213 women and 2912 men from the CoLaus (Cohort Lausanne) for the prevalence of normal weight obesity.

They found that 5.4% of women and less than 3.0% of men had normal weight obesity. Due to the low number of men with the condition, further analysis was restricted to women.

Following adjustment for various confounding factors such as age, smoking status, educational level, physical activity, and alcohol consumption, the researchers found that women with normal weight obesity were 90% more likely to have dyslipidemia or high blood pressure, and 63% more likely to have hyperglycemia than lean women.

However, levels of C-reactive protein, adiponectin, and markers of liver function (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and gamma glutamyl transferase) did not differ between lean and normal weight obese women.

Interestingly, women with normal weight obesity had a similar cardiovascular risk profile to that of women who were overweight, despite being within the normal BMI range.

“Our data indicate that the increased percentage of body fat observed among normal weight obese women is associated with increased levels of cardiovascular risk factors, but not with liver or inflammatory markers,” conclude Marques-Vidal and team in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.

“Specific screening of normal weight obesity might be necessary in order to implement cardiovascular prevention,” they add.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Helen Albert

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