Obesity Beneficial in Patients with Heart Failure

Susan Farley
Published Online: Tuesday, March 1, 2005

A study out of Yale University concluded that overweight and obese people with heart failure have a lower risk of mortality than normal or underweight patients. While previous studies have examined the protective effect of obesity in patients with heart failure, this study is the largest to date and included heart failure in various degrees of severity.As reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, this study included 7767 patients with stable heart failure who were divided into groups of underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese. Researchers followed these patients for an average of 3 years and found that obese and overweight patients were 19% and 12% less likely to die, respectively, than patients of a healthy weight. Further, underweight patients were 21% more likely to die. The authors theorized that overweight and obese patients had better outcomes because their weight problems created a red flag for their physicians and caused them to be diagnosed sooner. They go as far as to suggest that, until further research has been concluded, patients with heart failure should not try to lose weight.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.

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