A group of Brisbane-based researchers are conducting a study to find out ways to increase life expectancy for obese and overweight people.
Pfizer Australia Cardio Vascular Lipid (CVL) Research Grant of $55,000 has been given to Dr Clair Sullivan from the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrine Research at the University of Queensland and Princess Alexandra Hospital for this cause.
The aim of Dr Sullivan's work is to understand the link between obesity and cardiovascular disease.
While it is well documented that high cholesterol and high blood pressure in overweight people leads to cardiovascular disease, Dr Sullivan believes there is more putting these peoples' lives at risk.
"The high blood pressure and high cholesterol don't fully account for the increased risk of cardiovasular disease in obese people," Dr Sullivan said.
"Fat was once thought to be a storage organ but in fact it is an active organ which secretes many hormones."
"That could be one of the reasons why people who carry extra weight have an increased risk of getting cardiovascular disease."
Dr Sullivan's research is looking particularly at the role the hormones produced from fat are playing in causing blockages in the main heart arteries.
"It's exciting because we can hopefully reduce the cardiovascular risks for overweight and obese people."
The Pfizer Australia CVL Research Grants were established in 1999 to support clinical research into cardiovascular disease or related therapeutic areas.
They are open to Australian medical graduates who have entered the field of research (or who have returned after an appropriate break) within the last five years.
Funding for the CVL Research Grants will be up to $55,000. Each grant is for 12 months.
Pfizer Australia will allocate $1 million per annum to this initiative as part of their continued commitment to cardiovascular research in Australia.