The Counterweight Programme: prevalence of CVD risk factors by body mass index and impact of a 10% weight change

McQuigg, M., Brown, J.E., Broom, J., Laws, R.A., Reckless, J.P.D., Noble, P.A., Kumar,S., McCombie, E.L., Lean, M.E.J., Lyons, G.F., Frost, G.S., Quinn, M.F., Barth, J.H., Haynes S.M., Finer, N., Haslam, D.W., Ross, H.M., Hole, D.J. and Radziwonik, S. 2008, The Counterweight Programme: prevalence of CVD risk factors by body mass index and impact of a 10% weight change, Obesity research and clinical practice, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 15-27, doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2008.01.002.

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Title The Counterweight Programme: prevalence of CVD risk factors by body mass index and impact of a 10% weight change
Author(s) McQuigg, M.
Brown, J.E.
Broom, J.
Laws, R.A.ORCID iD for Laws, R.A.
Reckless, J.P.D.
Noble, P.A.
McCombie, E.L.
Lean, M.E.J.
Lyons, G.F.
Frost, G.S.
Quinn, M.F.
Barth, J.H.
Haynes S.M.
Finer, N.
Haslam, D.W.
Ross, H.M.
Hole, D.J.
Radziwonik, S.
Journal name Obesity research and clinical practice
Volume number 2
Issue number 1
Start page 15
End page 27
Total pages 13
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2008-03
ISSN 1878-0318
Keyword(s) Body mass index (BMI)
Primary health care
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors
Weight loss/weight gain
Summary Objectives

To examine relationships between body mass index (BMI), prevalence of physician-recorded cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in primary care, and changes in risk with 10% weight change.


The Counterweight Project conducted a baseline cross-sectional survey of medical records of 6150 obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2), 1150 age- and sex-matched overweight (BMI 25 to <30 kg/m2), and 1150 age- and sex-matched normal weight (BMI 18.5 to <25 kg/m2) controls, in primary care. Data were collected for the previous 18 months to examine BMI and disease prevalence, and then modelled to show the potential effect of 10% weight loss or gain on risk.


Obese patients develop more CVD risk factors than normal weight controls. BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 exhibits increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), odds ratio (OR) men: 6.16 (p < 0.001); women: 7.82 (p < 0.001) and hypertension OR men: 5.51 (p < 0.001); women: 4.16 (p < 0.001). Dyslipidaemia peaked around BMI 35 to <37.5 kg/m2, OR men: 3.26 (p < 0.001); women 3.76 (p < 0.001) and CVD at BMI 37.5 to <40 kg/m2 in men, OR 4.48 (p < 0.001) and BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 in women, OR 3.98 (p < 0.001).

A 10% weight loss from the sample mean of 32.5 kg/m2 reduced the OR for type 2 DM by 30% and CVD by 20%, while 10% weight gain increased type 2 DM risk by more than 35% and CVD by 20%.


Obesity plays a fundamental role in CVD risk, which is reduced with weight loss. Weight management intervention strategies should be a public health priority to reduce the burden of disease in the population.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.orcp.2008.01.002
Field of Research 111708 Health and Community Services
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Elsevier
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