Chew on this: While obese people are at much higher risk for having heart attacks, they also more likely than their thinner counterparts to survive them, the AP reports. Three years after their heart attacks, as many as 10% of healthy-weight patients had died compared to 3.6% of obese patients, according to one of several recent studies that drew the same conclusion. Now scientists are puzzling out possible reasons why.
Thinner patients are more likely to be smokers, but even after controlling for tobacco use, researchers found significant differences in survival rates. Some docs speculate that the hearts of obese people are "pre-conditioned" to deal with higher levels of stress; others say lifestyle changes have a more dramatic effect on the obese. (Read more health stories.)