Trends in Cardiovascular Health Metrics in Obese Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1988-2014

Fangjian Guo, W. Timothy Garvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: No study has quantified trends in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors and cardiovascular health metrics among obese people in the United States in recent years.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We examined the secular changes in cardiovascular health metrics and key cardiovascular disease risk factors among obese adults (aged ≥20 years) in the United States. We included 18 626 obese adults (body mass index ≥30) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III and NHANES 1999-2014. Among those obese adults, there were decreases in mean systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol levels and increases in mean high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and mean hemoglobin A1c levels. Prevalence of blood pressure health and lipid health remained stable during the period 1988-2014, whereas prevalence of blood glucose health decreased significantly during this period. Prevalence of freedom from cardiovascular disease risk factors remained stable at ≈15% among the adult obese population during the period 1988-2014, whereas prevalence of presence of all 3 risk factors increased from 16.4% to 22.4% during this period, commensurate with a decline in those with 1 to 2 risk factors (from 69.6% to 62.4%).

CONCLUSIONS: During the past 3 decades, blood pressure health and blood lipid health remained stable or improved, whereas blood glucose health deteriorated among adult obese population. This resulted in an overall decrease in cardiovascular health status among obese adults and greater risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The data argue for interventions targeted to those obese persons who are metabolically unhealthy to stem rising rates of diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • blood pressure
  • glucose
  • lipids
  • obesity
  • risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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