In a new study, researchers found in people with diabetes, fat mass index, not body mass index (BMI), is linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
The research was conducted by a team from The Second Xiangya Hospital.
Heart disease is a major cause of death worldwide, and obesity is a major risk factor.
BMI, a common measure of obesity, has been recently shown to be an imperfect metric because it does not distinguish between lean muscle mass and fat mass.
When issues related to obesity are studied, suitable metrics that describe obesity accurately are extremely important.
In the study, the researchers analyzed data on 10,251 adults from the ACCORD study, a randomized controlled trial in the United States looking at diabetes and heart disease.
The mean age was almost 63 years, and 62% of participants were men.
The researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes and higher fat mass were at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes compared to people with lower fat mass.
In contrast to previous research, the protective role of lean body mass was not observed in the research population with type 2 diabetes as a whole.
The team found the protective effect of lean body mass was observed in participants with a mean BMI of less than 16.7 kg/m2
The increased risk of heart disease in type 2 diabetes patients with lower BMI may be attributed to the adverse effect of lower lean body mass that overrides the positive effect of lower fat mass.
The team says fat mass had a strong association with a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, and people with type 2 diabetes need to pay attention to it.
One author of the study is Dr. Xinqun Hu, Departments of Cardiovascular Medicine and Emergency Medicine.
The study is published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.
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