In a new study published this week in JAMA, researchers concluded that higher BMI—although associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes onset—is not associated with higher risks of heart attacks or early death.
The study looked at over 4,000 sets of genetically identical twins with different body fat levels. In follow up studies over the next 15 years, differences between the twins were compared when it came to early death and heart attacks. The median age of the twins was 57 and all participants ranged from 42-92.
5% of twin siblings with higher BMI (mean value 25.1) had heart attacks versus 5.2% of their lower BMI counterpart.
13.6% of the twins with high BMI died early, as compared to 15.6% of their lower BMI counterpart.
In the sets of twins where the BMI difference was bigger than 7 points and where the larger twin had a BMI of 30+, there was still no increased risk of mortality or heart attack for the higher BMI twin.