Medical researchers at the University of Alberta studied the records of nearly 1000 patients who were admitted to hospital with pneumonia and noted those who were obese were more apt to survive compared to those who were of normal weight.
For their research study, the team examined the records of 907 patients with pneumonia who were admitted to six Edmonton hospitals and also had their body mass index recorded. Two-thirds of the patients had severe pneumonia and 79 died in hospital. Of those who died, 12 were under weight, 36 were normal weight, 21 were overweight and 10 were obese. Compared to those who were normal weight, obese patients had lower in-hospital mortality rates due to pneumonia, says the study, which was led by Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher Sharry Kahlon, who works in the Department of Medicine and is a resident in internal medicine. Mortality was 10 per cent for those who were normal weight and 4 per cent for those who were obese. This translates into a 54 per cent reduction in mortality associated with being obese. The results of the study were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.
Kahlon says the research supports the 'obesity paradox' – that in some circumstances being obese may be better for your health, even though obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, death and catching infections like pneumonia.
"The thinking usually is obesity equals bad and this research demonstrated something different. It shows that perhaps we're not looking at obesity in the right way. Is all fat bad? Is all fat equal? For acute illnesses, maybe we're not looking at the right indicators for body mass index and obesity."
Kahlon says previous studies have demonstrated the 'obesity paradox' in relation to chronic diseases, but this is one of a handful of studies to demonstrate the link with acute medical conditions. In the study, she notes obese patients may have had better survival rates because they had more nutritional reserves.
"It might be a misregulation of the inflammatory system that allows these individuals to do better," she says. "These mechanisms still need to be better studied."
She noted physicians may need to adjust prescriptions or care for obese patients hospitalized with pneumonia – to better meet their medical needs.
Former Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry Dean Tom Marrie was part of the research team and found the patients to take part in the study.
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry: http://www.med.ualberta.ca
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Implant attached to bone in pioneering technique that helps prevent infection and discomfort
A new method for removing allergens from peanuts means help could soon be on the way for the roughly 2.8 million Americans with a potentially life-threatening allergy to the popular food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
Survey finds many social media users hesitate to express opinions unless they know their followers will agree with them
Ebola has a nasty reputation for damaging the body, especially its blood vessels. But when you look at the nitty-gritty details of what happens after a person is infected, a surprising fact surfaces.
You think bringing a new toothbrush to market is easy? The seven-year saga of two dental entrepreneurs struggling to bring their patented brush to consumers suggests otherwise.
Scholars have long tried to understand how culture affects communities. New research argues that the parking behavior of drivers may tell us something about the economic productivity of nations.
Research suggests that unfamiliar flu strains cause immune system to release broadly effective antibodies
Deep-rooted preferences for firstborn sons in India lead to malnutrition in other children, says economist Seema Jayachandran
A new study suggests using a smaller glass, keeping your glass on the table while you pour, and never filling it over half-full
Scientists now think the entire outbreak in West Africa was triggered by one person and then the virus took off from there. Early signs pointed to a little boy in southern Guinea.