Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have found that the health risks for women who are extremely obese may be underestimated since they have a higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol than women at lower levels of obesity.
The findings published in JAMA were based on the study which examined the relationship between weight category and risk of death and coronary heart disease (CHD) in a large population-based sample of U.S. women, focusing on risk across degree of obesity. The researchers analyzed data on incident death and cardiovascular outcomes by weight status in 90,185 women recruited from 40 U.S. centers for the Women's Health Initiative-Observational Study who were followed-up for an average of 7.0 years (1993 to 2004).
Overall, extremely obese women were more likely to die over the average 7.0 years of follow-up than were women in other examined weight categories.
Obesity diagnosis and treatment are typically based on body mass index (BMI) of at least 30. BMI is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. However, three categories of obesity are defined: obesity 1 (30-34.9); obesity 2 (35-39.9); and extreme obesity (40 and greater).
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