Racial Differences and Temporal Obesity Trends in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction

Melissa C. Caughey*, Muthiah Vaduganathan, Sameer Arora, Arman Qamar, Robert J. Mentz, Patricia P. Chang, Clyde W. Yancy, Stuart D. Russell, Sanjiv J. Shah, Wayne D. Rosamond, Ambarish Pandey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Obesity increases with age, is disproportionately prevalent in black populations, and is associated with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). An “obesity paradox,” or improved survival with obesity, has been reported in patients with HFpEF. The aim of this study was to examine whether racial differences exist in the temporal trends and outcomes associated with obesity among older patients with HFpEF. DESIGN: Community surveillance of acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) hospitalizations, sampled by stratified design from 2005 to 2014. SETTING: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (NC, MS, MD, MN). PARTICIPANTS: A total of 10,147 weighted hospitalizations for ADHF (64% female, 74% white, mean age 77 years), with ejection fraction ≥50%. MEASUREMENTS: ADHF classified by physician review, HFpEF defined by ejection fraction ≥50%. Body mass index (BMI) calculated from weight at hospital discharge. Obesity defined by BMI ≥30 kg/m2, class III obesity by BMI ≥40 kg/m2. RESULTS: When aggregated across 2005–2014, the mean BMI was higher for black compared to white patients (34 vs 30 kg/m2; P <.0001), as was prevalence of obesity (56% vs 43%; P <.0001) and class III obesity (24% vs 13%; P <.0001). Over time, the annual mean BMI and prevalence of class III obesity remained stable for black patients, but steadily increased for white patients, with annual rates statistically differing by race (P-interaction =.04 and P =.03, respectively). For both races, a U-shaped adjusted mortality risk was observed across BMI categories, with the highest risk among patients with a BMI ≥40 kg/m2. CONCLUSION: Black patients were disproportionately burdened by obesity in this decade-long community surveillance of older hospitalized patients with HFpEF. However, temporal increases in mean BMI and class III obesity prevalence among white patients narrowed the racial difference in recent years. For both races, the worst survival was observed with class III obesity. Effective strategies are needed to manage obesity in patients with HFpEF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1318
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • epidemiology
  • heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
  • obesity
  • race
  • surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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