Lavie, Carl J.; McAuley, Paul A.; Church, Timothy S.; Milani, Richard V.; Blair, Steven N.
Obesity has been increasing in epidemic proportions, with a disproportionately higher increase in morbid or class III obesity, and obesity adversely affects cardiovascular (CV) hemodynamics, structure, and function, as well as increases the prevalence of most CV diseases. Progressive declines in physical activity over 5 decades have occurred and have primarily caused the obesity epidemic. Despite the potential adverse impact of overweight and obesity, recent epidemiological data have demonstrated an association of mild obesity and, particularly, overweight on improved survival. We review in detail the obesity paradox in CV diseases where overweight and at least mildly obese patients with most CV diseases seem to have a better prognosis than do their leaner counterparts. The implications of cardiorespiratory fitness with prognosis are discussed, along with the joint impact of fitness and adiposity on the obesity paradox. Finally, in light of the obesity paradox, the potential value of purposeful weight loss and increased physical activity to affect levels of fitness is reviewed. (c) 2014 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation