Obesity as Cardiovascular Risk Factor and Nursing Research

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Research and Obesity as Cardiovascular Risk

Obesity as Cardiovascular Risk Factor and Nursing Research

Obesity and Worldwide Statistics,In Children,Older adults,Intervention studies,Obesity and Post Menopausal Women,High Cholesterol and Insulin Levels,Weight Loss and Lipid Level,Obesity Etiology.

Obesity and Worldwide Statistics

     With over 60% of the American population classified as overweight or obese, and with the medical costs attributable to obesity ranging upwards from $100 billion per year, the national, indeed global, crisis of obesity stands in the ignominious position of being the one epidemic that nursing research has virtually ignored. 

    In the last few years there has been a slow increase in the number of studies and publications by nurses that focus on obesity. While cardiovascular disease (CVD) and many of its risk factors have been prominent in the nursing literature for quite some time, the intersection of obesity and cardiovascular risk has been virtually unexplored from a nursing perspective. 

    The most common approach of nurses studying obesity and CVD has been to include body weight, either directly measured or self-reported, in descriptive studies of CVD risk factors. This data point is subsequently analyzed as Body Mass Index (BMI), calculated as weight/height (kg/m).

In Children

    Children. Among 340 elementary school children, 53% had one or more risk factors for CVD (Cowell, Warren, & Montgomery, 1999). Moreover, 25% of the children were obese, and among the children who were obese, 47% had additional risk factors for CVD. 

    Despite a low prevalence of poor fitness, 84% of the low fitness children also had high blood pressure or were obese. In a study involving 32 third grade children ( Skybo & Ryan-Wenger, 2002), the most prevalent risk factors for heart disease were high body fat percentage and environmental tobacco smoke in the home. 

    Few children had a body fat percentage within the healthy range. Thus, the investigators suggested that the third-grade children possessed some of the known risk factors for CVD, with some of the risk factors being under the control of the child. Women. 

    A study was conducted to determine whether there was a difference between African-American and Caucasian women in the self-reported CVD risk factors of obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking (Harrell & Gore, 1998). 

    In that study of 1,945 women aged 23-53 years, African American women of low and middle socioeconomic status (SES) were much more likely than high SES African Americans to be obese, inactive, and smokers. 

    Among Caucasian women, however, only those with low SES had the greatest prevalence of these three risk factors for CVD. After controlling for income and education, African-American women were more than twice as likely as Caucasian women to be obese and inactive. 

    A secondary analysis of the Canadian National Population Health Survey (Cycle 1: 1994/95; Cycle II: 1996/97) focused on the CVD risk factors of physical inactivity, hypertension, cigarette smoking, diabetes, obesity, and socioeconomic status (SES) among women aged 20 years and older (Wong & Wong, 2002). 

    Results indicated an increased prevalence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and physical activity from Cycle I to Cycle II, and supported previous studies that there is an SES gradient for CVD risk factors. In this study age, physical activity, hypertension, and household income but not obesity emerged as significant predictors of heart disease.

Older adults

    In a study of patients after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), female sex (odds ratio 4.7) and obesity (odds ratio 3.7) significantly predicted hospital readmission (Sabourin & Funk, 1999). 

    Other investigators used a cross-sectional design to assess CVD risk factors in Korean-American elderly, aged 60-89 years, who resided in a large city in the eastern United States (Kim, MT, Juon , Hill, Post, & Kim , 2001). 

    In these older adults, hypertension was the leading CVD risk factor, followed by high blood cholesterol, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, and smoking.

Intervention studies

    Intervention studies of obesity as a CVD risk factor where major dependent variables were physiological, were only found when nurses appeared as members of multidisciplinary investigator teams. One of these teams (McMurray, Ainsworth, Harrell, Griggs, & Williams, 1998) examined cardiovascular fitness (VO) and physical activity (PA) rather than obesity perse as CVD risk factors in young adult men and women. 

    A cross-sectional analysis revealed that those in the highest tertial of VO2 had a reduced relative risk for elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, and obesity, while those in the highest tertial of self-reported PA only had a lower relative risk for high systolic blood pressure (BP). 

    After a 9-week exercise program for low fit young adults, only those who increased VO had a reduction in relative risk for high cholesterol and systolic BP, but not for diastolic BP or obesity.

Obesity and Post Menopausal Women

    From a research program focusing on obesity and sedentariness as major risk factors for CVD in postmenopausal women, and the corresponding lifestyle modifications of weight loss and physical activity to mediate these risks, Nicklas and colleagues reported the physiological aspects of these phenomena in numerous publications. 

    The sequential effects of a 2-month American Heart Association (AHA) Step I diet and subsequent weight loss through 6 months of hypocaloric AHA diet and low-intensity walking were examined for their effects on lipoprotein lipids in obese, postmenopausal women (Nicklas, katzel , Bunyard , Dennis, & Goldberg, 1997). 

    The AHA diet alone lowered concentrations of total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) cholesterol. Weight loss increased HDL-C concentrations, but brought no additional changes in total cholesterol or LDL-C, Reductions in total cholesterol and LDL-C were significant for participants with hypercholesterolemia, but not for normocholesterolemic women. 

    The investigators conjectured that because the AHA diet alone lowered HDL-C in the total sample of women, a low-fat diet without substantial weight loss may not be beneficial for improving lipoprotein lipid risk factors for CVD in obese, postmenopausal women with normal lipid profiles . 

    In research to determine the specific dietary factors associated with the decrease in HDL-C on an AHA diet alone ( Bunyard , Dennis, & Nicklas, 2002), the one significant dietary change was the increase in the percent of energy consumed from simple sugar. 

    There were no relationships between changes in HDL-C and changes in the percentage of energy consumed from total, saturated, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated fat.

    Findings from a study of racial differences in resting metabolic rate (RMR) fat oxidation and VO in obese, postmenopausal women showed that RMR, adjusted for differences in lean mass, fat oxidation rate, and VO were significantly higher in white than in black women ( Nicklas, Berman, Davis, Dobrovolny, & Dennis, 1999). 

    In a multiple regression model including race, body weight, lean mass, and age, lean mass was the only independent predictor of RMR, while race was the only independent predictor of fat oxidation. The best predictors of VO were lean mass and race. 

    The efficacy of a 6-month hypocaloric AHA diet and low-intensity walking in improving CVD risk factors in obese Caucasian and African-American post-menopausal women was evaluated by measurements of body composition (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), abdominal fat areas (computed tomography scan), lipoprotein lipids, insulin, glucose tolerance, and blood pressure (Nicklas, Dennis, et al., 2003). 

    Although absolute weight loss was similar in the two races, Caucasian women lost relatively more fat mass. Women across the sample decreased fat in the abdominal region with no differences in magnitude by race. 

    The intervention decreased triglycerides and increased HDL-C in both races, and decreased total and LDL-C in the Caucasian women. Fasting glucose and glucose area during an oral glucose tolerance test decreased in Caucasian women, whereas there were no racial differences in the decreased insulin area. 

    Blood pressure decreased the most in women with higher blood pressures at baseline. Changes in lipids, fasting glucose, and insulin, their responses during the oral glucose tolerance test, and blood pressure were not different between racial groups of low-intensity walking intervention, 458/832.

High Cholesterol and Insulin Levels

    The accumulation of visceral fat, independent of total body obesity, is widely acknowledged for its association with the development of dyslipidemia, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and hyperinsulinemia in women.     

    Examining whether the loss of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was related to improvements in VO during a hypocaloric di and colleagues (Lynch, Nicklas, Berman, Dennis, & Goldberg, 2001) found significant declines in visceral as well as subcutaneous adipose tissue areas, with no change in lean body mass. 

    Women with an average of 10%. Increase in VO reduced VAT by an average of 20%, significantly more than women who did not increase VO despite comparable reductions in total body fat, fat mass, and subcutaneous adipose tissue area. 

    In a cross-sectional analysis of peri- and post-menopausal women 45-65 years old, who ranged widely in adiposity and fat distribution (Nicklas, Penninx , et al., 2003), women in the lowest quintile for VAT (< 105 cm³) had significantly higher concentrations of HDL-C, lower LDL-C/HDL-C ratios, triglyceride concentrations, fasting glucose, and insulin concentrations than women in the four remaining quartiles. 

    Women in the two highest VAT quintiles (2,163 cm) had the highest glucose and insulin concentrations. A VAT greater than 105 cm² was associated with a higher risk of having low HDL-C, while a VAT greater than 163 cm² also was associated with a higher risk of having a high LDL-C/HDL-C ratio and a higher risk of being glucose intolerant.

Weight Loss and Lipid Level

    Findings from additional studies in over weight and obese postmenopausal women conducted by this same multidisciplinary research team suggested that a reduction in adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase activity (AT-LPL) with weight loss was associated with improvements in lipid metabolic risk factors from weight loss and decreased weight regain. 

    In genetic studies, variations in the lipoprotein lipase gene Pull were associated with ATLPL activity and lipoprotein lipid and glucose concentrations, which resulted in a more problematic CVD risk factor profile for these women. 

    Women with variation in the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) gamma2 gene (Pro12Ala) regained more weight during follow up than those who were homozygous for the Pro allele.

Obesity Etiology

    Obesity is a global epidemic with a complex etiology of physiologic, metabolic, genetic, cognitive, psychological, behavioral, environmental, social, and political factors. Obesity also is a major risk factor for CVD, the leading cause of mortality in women as well as men.


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