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Overweight at 18 Results in Greater Risk for Sudden Death

Overweight at 18 Results in Greater Risk for Sudden Death
A recent study reports that women who were overweight at the age of 18 are at an increased risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD), regardless of what their current weight is.

What is SCD?

SCD is a sudden and unexpected death that is caused by the loss of your heart's function. It cuts off the blood supply to your brain and other vital organs. According to the Boston Scientific, SCD kills more than 300,000 people each year in the U.S., and only one in 11 people survive SCD. Unfortunately, about 75 percent of its victims have no known risk factors for heart disease, and it's typically the first indication of cardiac disease in women.

Researchers followed 72,484 women that were generally healthy at the beginning from 1980 to 2012. Over this period of time, 454 women suffered from SCD. Researchers found that compared with participants who had a body mass index of 21 to 22.9 at the age of 18, those other participants with a BMI of 23 to 29.9 had a 33 percent higher risk for SCD. Participants with a BMI of 30 to 35.9 has twice the risk, and participants who had a BMI higher than 35 had four times the risk.

Is there a way to prevent SCD?

Stephanie Chiuve, ScD, Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, discusses the recent study on SCD and if there's a way to prevent it.
Featured Speaker:
Stephanie Chiuve, ScD
Stephanie ChiuveStephanie Chiuve is an epidemiologist with expertise in nutrition and cardiovascular disease, and her area of research focuses on understanding the role of dietary and other lifestyle factors for the primordial prevention of cardiovascular disease.

She have contributed as first or supporting author to five analyses that quantified the burden of cardiovascular disease due to unhealthy lifestyle factors, including coronary heart disease (published in Circulation and Archives of Internal Medicine), stroke (published in Circulation) and sudden cardiac death (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association).

She has developed sex-specific risk prediction models for cardiovascular disease based on diet and lifestyle habits, called the Healthy Heart Score, sponsored by a grant from the American Heart Association, and corresponding online interactive risk calculator for use in the clinical and in the community setting.

She has published numerous manuscripts on dietary patterns and risk of CVD including the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. She has also evaluated the association between the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and chronic disease risk, and simultaneously developed the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, a novel alternative dietary index, based on foods and nutrients associated with risk of chronic diseases in the literature, which was found to be most strongly associated with risk of CVD and other chronic diseases.