The study was led by Susanna Larsson, associate professor
and senior scientist at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. The findings
of the study appear in the
Interestingly, the study team emphasizes that
although these genetic variants can predispose persons to gain excess weight,
the most critical factors that
influence the development of heart disease
include diet and physical activity.
‘People who had gene variants predicting excess body fat and high body mass index (BMI) had a high risk of developing several heart and blood vessel diseases, including aortic valve stenosis, deep vein thrombosis, heart failure, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease, stroke and pulmonary embolism.’
A healthy diet plus physical exercise is the cornerstone
to prevent heart disease and
we must limit our calorie intake
to give sufficient energy to maintain
healthy body weight, i.e. a BMI of between 20 to 25 kg/m2. Therefore, people genetically predisposed to high BMI
should try harder and strive to maintain optimal body weight.
Professor Larsson said: "Our genes can make us
somewhat more predisposed to gain body weight but lifestyle factors, such as
overeating and lack of physical activity, are the major determinants of
Demerits of the Study
- The merits of the
study include the large numbers of
participants and the fact that they were of European descent, thereby
reducing the possibility of bias by including different races.
- Possible demerits
include the fact that some gene
variants may be associated with more than one disease, that the number
of cases for some diseases was less, and that there was no data on the severity of aortic stenosis.
In summary, the first-ever study using a method of
Mendelian randomization concludes that excess body fat causes several heart
diseases in particular aortic stenosis.
maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can prevent the disease.
- Body mass index and body composition in relation to 14 cardiovascular conditions in UK Biobank: a Mendelian randomization study - (https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz388)