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December 1971

Body Weight and Cigarette Smoking As Risk Factors

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC; Chapel Hill, NC; Durham, NC; Chapel Hill, NC; Claxton, Ga; Chapel Hill, NC

From the Department of Community Health. Sciences, Duke University Medical School (Dr. Heyden) and the Division of Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center (Dr. Bartel), Duke University, Durham, NC, and the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Drs. Cassel, Tyroler, and Cornoni). Dr. Hames is a practicing physician, Claxton, Ga.

Arch Intern Med. 1971;128(6):915-919. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310240069008

In males, the incidence rate of coronary heart disease (CHD) in white noncigarette smokers was 52.7/1,000 and among blacks, 9.8/1,000; among white cigarette smokers the rate was 101/1,000 but in blacks only 32.5/1,000. The incidence rate of CHD in the leanest whites was 95.5/1,000, among the leanest blacks, 24.1/1,000; however, in the most obese whites the rate was 137/1,000 and among the blacks, 53.6/1,000. When comparing white smokers with nonsmokers in the leanest and most obese tertiles, smokers run a substantial risk of developing CHD, increasing with increase in overweight (80, 90, and 150/1,000, respectively). The risk of nonsmokers developing CHD does not increase from the leanest to the moderately overweight and the most obese group, (51, 30, and 64/1,000, respectively). Therefore, obesity in white males seems to enhance the risk of CHD among cigarette smokers but not among nonsmokers.