Coronary Heart Disease

Is there validity in relating BMI to CHD?

Your own BMI score could be seen as a valid representation as to if your weight is healthy or not. However, this depiction could be shown to be wrongly accused. Other factors must be taken into accord when thinking of your health and whether this could lead to one of our greatest health risks.

Looking at a BMI score >= 30 would class into the category of obesity. With the increase in population, especially in the western world, being overweight (with around 2/3 of US adults, 60% of Australians & 35.6% of adults in the UK), trends have been shown that this does lead to an increase in adverse health conditions.

A meta-analysis of 21 cohort studies including more than 300,000 people gave the conclusion of ‘Adverse effects of overweight on blood pressure and cholesterol levels could account for about 45% of the increased risk of coronary heart disease’. Although this is shown, care must be taken when using such a rudimentary tool, resulting in using other factors to give a valid judgement.

In patients with CHD there is a very strong correlation with BMI and body fat but also then classifying individuals differently, such as looking at body composition. This resulted with people who have central obesity in particular, showing to have the greatest association towards acquiring CHD (even more so with traditional risk factors i.e. hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus).

With CHD being the most common type of heart disease, giving a high likelihood of attainability, understanding what it is, how it affects you and how to reduce the likely-hood of getting it is a must.

CHD is the plaque build-up in your arteries and also the hardening of your arteries. The arteries direct oxygenated blood to tissues such as your heart muscles. With the two factors of CHD occurring, it is therefore hard for blood and oxygen to reach those muscles in your heart.

Subsequent strain is then implemented on your body, but if the plaque ruptures however, this could form a blood clot. A resultant factor of a blood clot could be conditions such as a heart attack, or if the brain starts to lack oxygen, a stroke.

Reducing your BMI has the potential of decreasing your chance of acquiring CHD. This is done through an appropriate diet and regular exercise (ultimately leading to weight loss). Balancing the amount of calories you take in and put out could be a starting point to this. Acquiring those calories through eating foods with high nutritional value (i.e. fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy) and decreasing your intake of salt, sugar and fats can easily result in lowering your cholesterol level. Depending on one’s fitness level, you should be averaging just over 20 minutes of exercise a day. Any type of activity is good for you. The more you do the better!

The best option is to retain a healthy lifestyle and in doing so results in the prevention of complications later on in life, this could be CHD but also other health problems as well.


Milad Rouf Final Year Medical Student, Cardiff University.

Bogers, R. (2007) "Association of Overweight With Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Partly Independent of Blood Pressure and Cholesterol LevelsA Meta-analysis of 21 Cohort Studies Including More Than 300 000 Persons", Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(16), p. 1720. doi: 10.1001/archinte.167.16.1720.

De Schutter, A. et al. (2013) "Correlation and Discrepancies Between Obesity by Body Mass Index and Body Fat in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease", Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, 33(2), pp. 77-83. doi: 10.1097/hcr.0b013e31828254fc.

Alexander, J. (2001) "Obesity and Coronary Heart Disease", The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 321(4), pp. 215-224. doi: 10.1097/00000441-200104000-00002.

Schutter, A. et al. (2011) "Body Composition in Coronary Heart Disease: How Does Body Mass Index Correlate With Body Fatness?", Ochsner Journal, 11(3), pp. 220-225. Available at: (Accessed: 6 June 2020).