Most people’s weight fluctuates over time, and there is probably no need to panic if you’ve eaten a few extra biscuits this afternoon. However, this news, based on a large study of European adults, using a novel genetic technique, may be of concern for those who are a little overweight in the longer term.
Researchers used the new genetic technique to attempt to get round the fact that weight gain could both cause heart disease and be a result of it, and the issue is that it is difficult to prove that weight gain is causing heart disease.
The technique used in this study “Mendelian randomisation”, focuses on genes rather than lifestyle factors. This, in theory, allows researchers to strip away outside influences and focus on the direct effect of obesity in causing cardiovascular diseases.
Based on the data the study revealed, researchers estimated that for each one unit rise in body mass index (BMI) the risk of experiencing heart failure increased by 17%.
It also found that being fatter increased the risk of developing other cardiovascular diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
The research has some limitations: the method used involves a range of assumptions that could introduce some degree of error and affect the results.
However, overall this study provides additional evidence that obesity has a causal influence on a number of different cardiovascular diseases.
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