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National Lipid Association Issues Statement On The Relationship Between Increased Body Fat and Abnormal Blood Cholesterol / Lipid Levels

(LAS VEGAS, NV) - Following a National Lipid Association (NLA) Consensus Conference held September 16, 2012, national leaders in the field of lipidology authored a consensus statement representing the most comprehensive review yet published on the impact of disturbances in calorie balance on lipid and cholesterol levels. Lipid specialists are health care professionals whose aim is to reduce deaths related to high cholesterol and other cardiometabolic disorders. The statement provides the best scientific support to date on the connection between obesity and heart disease. Their conclusions were published on Thursday, May 30, by the Journal of Clinical Lipidology.

In their statement, the authors—Harold Bays, MD, Peter P. Toth, MD, PhD, Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, Nicola Abate, MD, Louis Aronne, MD, W. Virgil Brown, MD, J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, MD, PhD, Steven Jones, MD, Rekha Kumar, MD, Ralph La Forge, MSc, and Varman Samuel, MD, PhD—describe how being overweight/obese and/or gaining weight and, specifically increasing body fat, may precipitate the development of “sick fat,” which is an important contributor to unhealthy levels of blood cholesterol and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. They also describe how weight loss and reduction in body fat may improve blood lipid levels and decrease risk of heart disease. 

The review is detailed and expansive in scope, with an emphasis on mechanisms accounting for insulin resistance and increased risk for diabetes, so often found in overweight and obese patients. The impact of body fat on specific lipid parameters is also explored, including triglyceride, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (the so-called “good” cholesterol), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) levels, as well as how abnormal levels of these blood lipids are improved by therapies directed towards assisting patients with weight reduction.

Highlighted therapies include an extensive review of nutritional intervention, physical activity, weight management, drug therapy, and bariatric surgery. These interventions not only improve the weight of patients, but also improve their metabolic health by beneficially impacting blood lipid and cholesterol levels with an accompanying reduction in risk for heart disease.

This landmark consensus statement representing the most comprehensive review of this topic to date validates what is known by clinicians and patients alike - that increases in body fat may worsen certain types of cholesterol / blood lipid levels. 

“This consensus statement is an important step in better understanding the relationship between increased body fat, and the many adverse health issues it has on patients,” said Harold Bays, MD, one of the authors. “Both clinicians and patients now have better scientific support for not only how excess calories and reduced physical activity may adversely affect body weight and heart disease risk, but also the degree by which interventions that help reduce body fat in overweight patients have the potential to improve certain types of cholesterol levels, and improve the health of patients.”

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by Dr. Radut.