Workplace Wellness Participation

Study: High BMI Brings Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes

The connections between obesity and chronic disease are well-reported.

We’ve noted that MedPage Today reports that “maintaining stable weight and loss of weight were each strongly associated with a decreased risk for diabetes among middle-aged adults, a new study found.” In fact, “the researchers predicted that about 20% of new diabetes cases could be prevented if adulthood weight was maintained within one body mass index (BMI) point, or within 3% of total weight.”

We also recently posted about Gallup, which reports that “Obese adults between the ages of 25 and 64 are at least four times more likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes than those who are normal weight… By their mid-to-late 30s, 9.3% of adults who are obese have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 1.8% among those who are normal weight.”

Now MedPage Today states that “High BMI Carries Weighty Heart, Diabetes Risk.” The post notes: “In yet another confirmation of the negative cardiometabolic impact of obesity, researchers detailed a causal effect for high body mass index (BMI) on heart and diabetes risks through Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis.”

“The ‘genetically instrumented’ measure of high BMI exposure… was associated with the following risks:

  • Hypertension
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Systolic blood pressure
  • Diastolic blood pressure

The study is titled “Association of Body Mass Index With Cardiometabolic Disease in the UK Biobank,” and was published by JAMA Cardiology. The researchers state that the above results “were independent of age, sex, Townsend deprivation scores, alcohol intake, and smoking history.”

The authors conclude: “The results of this study add to the burgeoning evidence of an association between higher BMI and increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases. This finding has relevance for public health policies in many countries with increasing obesity levels.”

While these risks exist, we also have noted the role that a well-run workplace wellness program can play in helping address obesity. We cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s presentation called Winnable Battles: Nutrition, Physical Activity, & Obesity.

The presentation can serve as an effective tool to educate and engage employees in well-run workplace wellness programs, as it “can be tailored for your use by adding specific data, case studies, and other useful information.”