The new estimates, being presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, indicate that adults with severe obesity class III (BMI of 40-45kg/m2) are 12 times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and are at 22 times greater risk of sleep apnoea than their normal weight peers. Those individuals with obesity class I (30-35kg/m2) are at 70 per cent higher risk of developing heart failure.
The risk of developing serious health problems was highly dependent on whether or not individuals had co-morbidities at the start of the study.
For example, a history of any cardiovascular event doubled the risk of unstable angina/heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
The size of this study, as well as the ability to consider 12 different serious health outcomes in a single-population representative cohort in the UK makes this study different from anything that’s been previously done, researchers say.
In a further study presented at the conference involving the University of Glasgow, the authors conducted a review of the health records of 77,591 adults aged 16 years and over from 12 general practices covering a broadly socio-economically representative sample of the Scottish population.
The BMI fields of records were searched for any BMI recording, with a specific interest in any measurements taken during the previous two years.
The researchers found that a BMI had at one point been recorded in 75 per cent of individuals, while less than a third (31 per cent) of patients had a recent BMI measurement (that was less than two years old).
Up-to-date BMI recording rates also varied significantly across practices from 20 per cent to 42 per cent, although the team noted a marked rise in recording rates over the two-year review period.
The authors conclude: “More complete current routine BMI data is required for accurate planning and provision of weight management services. Under-reporting may hinder stated public health aims of early detection and intervention of type 2 diabetes.
“It is important to monitor the quality of data in electronic health records given their increasing use as a source in research and to estimate variation between real life prevalence rates and national health survey rates.”