Thin Diabetics Basically Sicker
In a classic example of the "obesity paradox," in which overweight persons seem to survive certain diseases longer than slender ones, a Northwestern University analysis of data from five previous studies has found that among adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the death rate for those who are overweight or obese is 1.5 percent per year, compared to 2.8 percent for those of normal weight. But extra weight is not protective; only 12 percent of those who become diabetic are normal weighted, and it is most likely that the thinner diabetics are genetically inclined both to diabetes and to health problems and shorter lifespans in general. Researchers' conclusion: thin diabetics run a higher mortality risk. The paradox has also been observed in the case of kidney and heart disease.
Fat Hurts and Helps
While obesity increases the odds of heart failure, it also appears to reduce the risk of death and other associated problems based on results from a study conducted by researchers at the University of California - Los Angeles. Scientists determined the body mass index (BMI) of around 2,700 people with heart failure and 469 had their belly circumference measured. A BMI of 25 or higher and a waist circumference of at least 40 inches and 37 inches in men and women, respectively, were categorized as high. Men and women with normal BMIs were at an increased risk for poor outcomes by 34 and 38 percent, respectively. Researchers believe that more muscle mass, more metabolic reserves from fat tissue and more anti-inflammatory lipoproteins may explain what is known as the "obesity paradox."
"The study doesn't say that the fatter you are, the fewer heart attacks, contradicting the headline in the present post. It says, instead, that given that you have a cardiac event, you’re more likely to survive it, the fatter you are. Not the same at all."
- Margaret in the comments
Researchers out to debunk the theory that extra weight protects against heart attacks not only failed, but ended up finding more evidence to support the so-called "obesity paradox." Specifically, non-obese patients who already suffer from the condition called "heart failure," which is a technical term describing a weakening of the heart muscle (the term is used informally in other senses), were found to be 76 percent more likely to die from a sudden cardiac event (such as a heart attack or myocardial infarction) than obese patients with heart failure. And according to the University of Rochester Medical Center researchers, if the underweight/normal group is compared to the obese group, the non-obese patients are almost twice at risk than the obese patients.