Heart Attack, Type 2 Diabetes, & Your BMI

If you are trying to lose weight, you've probably heard of the body mass index, or BMI. Developed in the 1830s, this calculation was once considered the gold standard for determining a body's healthiest weight range. Now, however, the BMI is hotly contested, with many people, including medical professionals, calling it an inefficient system to gauge one's size.

But can BMI be used to gauge other risks? A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine sought to find out.

Seeing (and Studying) Double

For this study, researchers at the Umeå University in Sweden analyzed over 4,000 sets of identical twins. The subjects, who ranged in age between 42 and 92, had identical DNA but different levels of body fat – and therefore different BMIs. The team conducted their research from 1998 to 2003, with an additional follow up in 2013.

What did they find?According to lead researcher Peter Nordström, Ph.D., “The fatter twin actually had a lower risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) or death, although the risk of diabetes was higher.”

Breakdown by BMI

Let's look at Umeå University's findings by the numbers:

  • Among the twins with a higher BMI, there were a total of 203 heart attacks and 550 deaths between 2003 and 2013.
  • For the twins whose BMI were lower, heart attacks and deaths tallied in at 209 and 633, respectively.

Dr. Nordström explained that these findings reveal that “obesity does not seem to be associated with cardiovascular disease or death, at least not to an increased risk.” However, the team did note that the heavier twin was at an increased risk for the onset of type two diabetes – about twice as likely.

“What the study does show is that there's a strong association between obesity and diabetes,” the team wrote in a press release, “which leads us to conclude that weight reduction interventions can be more effective against diabetes than when it comes to reducing the risk of heart attack and mortality.”

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...