Obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths tripled between 1999 and 2020

Oct. 2, 2023
Black adults had the highest rates of obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths 1999 to 2020, with the highest percentage found in Black women, according to a new study in Journal of the American Heart Association.

There has been a recent three-fold increase in obesity-related deaths from heart disease in the U.S. between 1999 and 2020, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access, peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association. 

Obesity remains a global public health crisis and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It currently affects about 42% of the U.S. population, an increase by almost 10% from the preceding decade, according to the American Heart Association’s 2023 statistics. 

Researchers analyzed race, gender and urban versus rural settings to determine differences in heart disease deaths in which obesity was listed as a contributing factor. Among the findings: 

  • Overall, obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths tripled from 2.2 per 100,000 population to 6.6 per 100,000 population between 1999 and 2020. 
  • Obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths were higher among Black individuals compared with any other racial group, at 6.7 per 100,000 population; followed by American Indian adults or Alaska Native adults at 3.8 per 100,000. 
  • Black women had the highest rates of obesity-related heart disease deaths than all others in the study. In other racial groups, men experienced more obesity-related heart disease deaths than women. 
  • Black adults living in urban areas had higher rates of obesity-related heart disease deaths compared with Black adults living in rural areas, (6.8 versus 5.9 per 100,000) whereas rural living was associated with higher rates of obesity-related heart deaths for people in all other racial groups. 

Study details and background: 

  • Researchers analyzed data collected from 1999 to 2020 on 281,135 deaths in which obesity was recorded as a contributing factor in The Multiple Cause of Death database includes mortality and population counts from all U.S. counties. 
  • Among the deaths, 43.6% were in women; 78.1% of the group were white adults; 19.8% were Black adults; 1.1% were Asian or Pacific Islander adults and 1% were American Indian adults or Alaskan Native adults. 

American Heart Association release on Newswise

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