Gray hair increases heart disease risk more than obesity

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The Daily Meal

Early baldness and graying, like obesity, is probably genetic - and studies now show that it’s a greater risk factor for heart disease than having those extra pounds. The study, published by the European Society of Cardiology, assessed data from 2,000 men under 40. Men who were prematurely bald or gray were 5.6 times more likely to end up with heart disease than those with a full head of hair.

This mirrors similar results found in 2013, which showed that early baldness increased heart disease risk by 32 percent.

Obese persons are a little less than four times more likely than average-BMI persons to have heart disease. Underweight persons are twice as likely to develop heart disease, while being slightly overweight actually showed to be a protective factor against heart disease. This is all according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.

Is a “hair diet” next on America’s prescription? We know obesity is at an all-time high, but the percentage of America going gray has yet to be thoroughly assessed.

“This study suggests that identifying men with premature hair loss and greying may help identify those with an increased risk of developing heart disease,” said Dr. Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation. Knapton warned not to devote too much concern to the study, as hair loss and graying isn’t something people can change.


Obesity might not be changeable either, however - no method, regimen, or diet has proven successful for the majority who attempt it in maintaining long-term weight loss. In fact, according to many studies, weight loss in the short-term (over 12 months) on almost any diet is minimal at best (averaging at less than 5 pounds) and the weight is often regained. One study showed that weight loss attempts were actually correlated with long-term weight gain rather than loss.

And even more recent evidence suggests that obesity has a genetic component, meaning that no matter a person’s lifestyle habits, their weight is largely predetermined.

Of early baldness, Knapton states, “This isn’t something that people can change, whereas you can modify your lifestyle and risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. These are far more important things to consider.” The same could be said for obese patients, as well - perhaps the answer lies in treating patients by prescribing healthy lifestyle changes, rather than risky methods of weight loss.