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Metabolically Healthy/Unhealthy Overweight/Obesity Associations With Incident Heart Failure in Postmenopausal Women: The Women’s Health Initiative

Amber R Cordola Hsu  1   2 , Bin Xie, Darleen V Peterson, Michael J LaMonte, et al, Short List of WHI Investigators

Circ Heart Fail. 2021 Mar 29;doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.120.007297.

Background: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of heart failure (HF); however, how metabolic weight groups relate to HF risk, especially in postmenopausal women, has not been demonstrated.

 Methods: We included 19 412 postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79 without cardiovascular disease from the Women’s Health Initiative. Normal weight was defined as a body mass index ≥18.5 and <25 kg/m2 and waist circumference <88 cm and overweight/obesity as a body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 or waist circumference ≥88 cm. Metabolically healthy was based on <2 and unhealthy ≥2 cardiometabolic traits: triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL, systolic blood pressure ≥130 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥85 mm Hg or blood pressure medication, fasting glucose ≥100 mg/dL or diabetes medication, and HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) <50 mg/dL. Risk factor-adjusted Cox regression examined the hazard ratios (HRs) for incident hospitalized HF among metabolically healthy normal weight (reference), metabolically unhealthy normal weight, metabolically healthy overweight/obese, and metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese.

Results: Among our sample, 455 (2.34%) participants experienced HF hospitalizations over a mean follow-up time of 11.3±1.1 years. Compared with metabolically healthy normal weight individuals, HF risk was greater in metabolically unhealthy normal weight (HR, 1.66 [95% CI, 1.01-2.72], P=0.045) and metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese individuals (HR, 1.95 [95% CI, 1.35-2.80], P=0.0004), but not metabolically healthy overweight/obese individuals (HR, 1.15 [95% CI, 0.78-1.71], P=0.48). Subdividing the overweight/obese into separate groups showed HRs for metabolically unhealthy obese of 2.62 (95% CI, 1.80-3.83; P<0.0001) and metabolically healthy obese of 1.52 (95% CI, 0.98-2.35; P=0.06).

Conclusions: Metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese and metabolically unhealthy normal weight are associated with an increased risk of HF in postmenopausal women.