"Obesity runs rampant in Indiana." by Steve Baker is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Obesity Strongly Related to Coronary Artery Disease and Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Obesity runs rampant in Indiana." by Steve Baker is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0Haris Riaz MD
(Cardiology Fellow
Haitham Ahmed MD, MPH , Preventive Cardiologist,
Cleveland Clinic, Ohio

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Elevated cholesterol (specially low density lipoprotein) has been causally linked to the development of coronary artery disease whereas the causal relationship between obesity and cardiovascular disease has remained controversial. This is important because of increasing epidemic of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Mendelian randomization studies provide one way of determining a causal association where we can look at the outcomes of individuals stratified by the presence or absence of a particular allele. Since these alleles are randomly distributed in the population of interest, this is “nature’s randomized trial” in that the particular allele is naturally distributed and hence minimal risk of bias.

In other words, lets say that I hypothesize that a particular gene “A” is linked with coronary artery disease. If the given gene is indeed causally linked with coronary artery disease, patients with activation of that gene should have significantly greater risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Based on these principles, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available evidence and found that the risk of developing coronary artery disease and diabetes is significantly increased with obesity. Although hypothesis generating, we think that these findings may suggest a causal association between obesity and cardiovascular disease. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

  1. Obesity is strongly (likely causally) related to coronary artery disease and diabetes.
  2. Weight loss is likely to mitigate this increased risk.
  3. A healthy lifestyle should remain at the forefront of public health initiative. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Mendelian randomization studies in the field of lipid research were able to predict whether certain therapies will help mitigate the cardiovascular risk conferred by (for instance LDL and trigylycerides) and the effect size of such interventions. Future research should focus on identifying if Mendelian randomization can aid in identifying therapeutic insights in the field of obesity research.

None of the authors that contributed to the manuscript have any disclosures (financial or otherwise) 


Riaz H, Khan MS, Siddiqi TJ, et al. Association Between Obesity and Cardiovascular OutcomesA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Mendelian Randomization StudiesJAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(7):e183788. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3788

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Last Updated on November 19, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD