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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Obesity Paradox Doesn’t Hold Up

A study co-authored by Dr. Andrew Stokes, assistant professor of global health at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), shows obesity does not protect patients with cardiovascular disease.

Study after study has shown obese or overweight people with cardiovascular disease outliving their normal weight counterparts—the so-called obesity paradox. Dr. Stokes and Dr. Samuel Preston, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, set out to solve the puzzle.

By accounting for weight history, and adding in smoking as a factor, the researchers found the paradox no longer holds up.

Including weight history is a key innovation, says Dr. Stokes. Not doing so “would be like classifying a lifelong smoker who quit the day before the survey as a non-smoker.” Weight history “turns out to have a profound effect on the findings,”  eliminating the mortality advantage for those who are overweight or obese.

To read more about the study, go to: