Height and Obesity May Raise Venous Thromboembolism Risk

Tall, obese men and women may have increased risk, but tall stature alone tied to VTE risk in men only

FRIDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Tall men may have an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE); whereas tall stature and obesity are associated with an increased VTE risk in both men and women, according to a study published online April 28 in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Knut H. Borch, M.D., from the University of Tromsø in Norway, and colleagues investigated the combined effect of obesity and body height on the risk of VTE in 26,714 men and women, aged 25 to 97 years, who participated in the Tromsø Study between 1994 and 1995. They identified 461 incident VTE events through 2007, during an average follow-up of 12.5 years.

The investigators found that obesity and tall stature synergistically increased the risk of VTE in both men and women. Tall stature was correlated with elevated risk of VTE in normal-weight (body mass index [BMI], <25 kg/m²) and obese (BMI, ≥30 kg/m²) men only. The risk of VTE was five times higher (multivariable hazard ratio [HR], 5.16) in tall (≥182 cm) and obese men compared to short men (≤172 cm) with normal weight. The risk of VTE was almost three times higher (multivariable HR, 2.89) in tall (≥168 cm) and obese women compared to normal-weight women with short stature (≤159 cm).

"The combination of obesity and a tall stature was associated with a substantially increased risk of VTE, especially in men, and suggests synergistic effects of obesity and body height on risk of VTE in both sexes," the authors write.

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on April 29, 2011

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