Harvard Heart Letter

Weight loss turns back the clock on heart disease

graph showing projected rates of new heart disease cases

Aging is one heart disease risk factor we can't do anything about. But researchers predicted that between now and 2042, a nationwide 10% reduction in body mass index (a measure of body fat based on height and weight), shown by blue bars, would offset 80% of the projected rise in heart disease due to age (pink bars). The flip side is even weightier: a 10% population-wide increase in body mass index (red bars) would more than double the increase in heart disease cases expected due to age alone (American Journal of Medicine, September 2011).

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