Understanding cardiovascular diseases
Understanding cardiovascular diseases

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Understanding cardiovascular diseases

4.4 Obesity and cardiovascular diseases

Obesity and being overweight are well-known as risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Carrying excess body fat predisposes individuals to developing elevated blood cholesterol and diabetes. You will begin to appreciate that many of the modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular diseases are interlinked. This means that influencing one, such as reducing the amount of stored lipids in the body, may have a positive effect in reducing the risk associated with high blood cholesterol levels and hypertension.

Obesity is an issue that increasingly needs to be addressed in developing countries, as well as in the developed or ‘Westernised’ world. Type 2 diabetes used to be described as a mainly adult disease, but that is changing as the incidence of obesity is increasing in young people, including children (see Figure 9 for England). This trend extends across the globe – even in countries such as Thailand and China, home to traditionally slender people. While awareness of the problem is growing, there is very limited guidance on what can be done to reverse or stem the problem.

Figure 9
Figure 9 The increase in obesity in children in England between 1995 and 2005
SK121_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus