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Overweight with Strong Heart Beats Thin and Weak

For overweight people with heart disease, improving their physical fitness could pay big dividends.

1ovrweight-lifting-wtsA new study has found that fitness, not body weight, is a more important predictor of whether people with clogged blood vessels in their heart will die in the relatively near term.

Being overweight, or even obese, but having a heart that could tolerate heavy exercise was markedly better than being a lean person who panted from walking up a hill.

Not surprisingly, the study also showed that obese heart patients who were least physically fit, and those with large amounts of fat concentrated around their hips and abdomen, were much more likely to die during the 14-year study period compared to their fitter, more slender peers. The combination of poor fitness and that kind of so-called “central obesity” was even more dangerous, raising the risk for death roughly sevenfold, the researchers said.

“The bottom line here is that fitness modulates the prognosis in patients with coronary artery disease according to their body weight,” study leader Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a heart specialist at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., told Reuters Health. “To have a low fitness and to have central obesity seems to be a pretty bad combination.”

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