People are dying of heart disease now more than ever, and it appears that the obesity epidemic is driving these numbers up. According to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association obesity-related cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths have tripled between 1999 and 2020 within America.
Obesity remains a global health crisis, and it is a known major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Obesity affects an estimated 42% of the American population which is up almost 10% from the preceding ten years according to the American Heart Association 2023 statistics.
“The number of people with obesity is rising in every country across the world. Our study is the first to demonstrate that this increasing burden of obesity is translating into rising heart disease deaths,” said lead study author and cardiologist Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, M.D., a clinical lecturer at the William Harvey Research Institute in London. “This rising trend of obesity is affecting some populations more than others, particularly Black women.”
“The trend of higher obesity-related cardiovascular death rates for Black women than men was striking and different from all other racial groups considered in our study,” said senior author Mamas A. Mamas, M.D., D.Phil. professor of Cardiovascular Medicine from Keele University in Keele, United Kingdom.
Data was collected from The Multiple Cause of Death national database from 1999 to 2020 on 281,135 deaths in which obesity was recorded as a contributing factor. The analysis revealed that 78.1% of the group were White adults, 19.8% were Black adults, 1.1% were Asian or Pacific Islander adults and 1% were American Indian adults or Alaskan Native adults; and among the deaths 43.6% were women.
Among the AHA Findings:
- Overall, obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths tripled from 2.2 per 100,000 population to 6.6 per 100,000 population between 1999 and 2020.
- Obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths were higher among Black individuals compared with any other racial group, at 6.7 per 100,000 population; followed by American Indian adults or Alaska Native adults at 3.8 per 100,000.
- Black women had the highest rates of obesity-related heart disease deaths than all others in the study. In other racial groups, men experienced more obesity-related heart disease deaths than women.
- Black adults living in urban areas had higher rates of obesity-related heart disease deaths compared with Black adults living in rural areas, (6.8 versus 5.9 per 100,000) whereas rural living was associated with higher rates of obesity-related heart deaths for people in all other racial groups.