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June 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 4)

Fat or thin: it doesn’t make any difference when it comes to a heart attack
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Fat or thin: it doesn’t make any difference when it comes to a heart attack image

It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re fat or thin: your chances of a heart attack—and possibly dying from it—are about the same. But being overweight or obese does increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, a study of identical twins has discovered.

The discovery goes against current health advice, which urges people to maintain a healthy weight in order to avoid heart disease.

Researchers from Umea University in Sweden made the discovery when they looked at the health profiles of 4,046 identical twins. There were five per cent of heart attacks among the twins who were overweight or obese—a score of 25 or more on the BMI (body mass index) measure—and the same rate was recorded in the siblings who maintained a healthy weight (a score of 23.9 or less). In fact, there were slightly more deaths among the twins who weren’t overweight.

There wasn’t any difference in the rate of heart attack or death even among the twins who recorded a difference of seven points or more on the BMI measure with their sibling—so this would include obese twins whose sibling had a normal weight.

The only risk factor of having a heavier weight was a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the researchers found.

The average age of the twins was 57 years, and it included identical twins aged from 42 to 92.


References

(Source: JAMA Internal Medicine, 2016; doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4104)

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