Obesity, Body Fat Distribution, and Coronary Artery Disease

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Obesity is an independent risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease (CAD). Obesity also increases risk for CAD indirectly through its association with insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. An increased accumulation of fat in the intraabdominal cavity, termed visceral adiposity, is highly correlated with an adverse coronary risk profile. In patients at risk for coronary artery disease, the treatment of obesity results in an improved coronary risk profile. The prevalence of obesity is extremely high in coronary populations, yet the effect of weight loss on cardiovascular outcomes in CAD patients has received relatively little attention. Observational studies in the cardiac rehabilitation setting showed that patients who lose weight and exercise show an improvement in coronary risk profile. Further research is needed to better define the clinical effectiveness of weight loss programs and their benefits in coronary patients.

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