More Australians and Americans are dying from cardiovascular disease attributable to excess weight, particularly in younger people, according to new research.
The researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia, have therefore warned that this trend would continue without concerted government action that promotes behaviour change.
The findings of the new study are published in the journal ‘BMC Medicine’.
CVD is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It’s usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an increased risk of blood clots.
Led by Dr. Tim Adair and Professor Alan Lopez, the study found that there was an accelerating rate of increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in ages 35-74 years related to overweight and obesity in Australia and the US. Lopez is the director of Global Burden Disease Group at the University of Melbourne.
He said: “If we are to reverse these worrying trends, we will need a strong and comprehensive policy approach that includes health education, taxation strategies, advertising restrictions, food and drink industry regulation and active transport strategies,” the ‘Medical Xpress’ reported.
As of 2016 in Australia and 2017 in the United States (US), the rate was rising at approximately three per cent per annum, following an earlier decline of over two per cent per annum in Australia and a period of stagnation in the US. Preliminary data suggest this increase has continued in subsequent years.
The recent rise has however, been more rapid in younger age groups within the 35-74 bracket, who have experienced relatively high levels of overweight and obesity since childhood.
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
Obesity has been more precisely defined by the National Institutes of Health (the NIH) as a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 and above.
The study analysed all the causes reported on death certificates (Multiple Cause of Death data), obtained for deaths in Australia between 2006-16 and in the US between 2000-17, to identify trends in overweight and obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths.
The researchers identified these deaths as any cardiovascular disease reported on a death certificate with obesity or any other cause strongly associated with overweight and obesity: diabetes, chronic kidney disease, lipidemias or hypertensive heart disease.
Comprising 40 per cent of Australian and 50 per cent of US premature cardiovascular disease mortality, the researchers found overweight and obesity-related mortality rates were increasing faster than other forms of cardiovascular disease deaths.
“Of grave concern is the large increase in obesity-related mortality among younger age groups who have had high levels of overweight and obesity since childhood,” Lopez said