Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Adipose tissue releases a large number of bioactive mediators that influence not only body weight homeostasis but also insulin resistance — the core feature of type 2 diabetes — as well as alterations in lipids, blood pressure, coagulation, fibrinolysis and inflammation, leading to endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. We are now beginning to understand the underlying mechanisms as well as the ways in which smoking and dyslipidaemia increase, and physical activity attenuates, the adverse effects of obesity on cardiovascular health.
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The authors thank A. Verrijken and P.-J. Van Gaal from the Metabolic Unit for their help with literature searches.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Van Gaal, L., Mertens, I. & De Block, C. Mechanisms linking obesity with cardiovascular disease. Nature 444, 875–880 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05487
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