overweight, obesity, body mass index, heart failure, diet, exercise, cognitive-behavioral therapy, cardiac risk factors



  1. Evangelista, Lorraine S. RN, PhD
  2. Miller, Pamela S. RN, MSN


Heart failure (HF) is a major cardiovascular disorder, public health concern, and growing epidemic that affects approximately 5,000,000 people in the United States with 550,000 new cases reported annually. The clinical and economic impact of HF is associated with high hospitalization and early readmission rates. Recognizing factors that contribute to increasing the risk for HF, particularly the persistent rise in prevalence of overweight and obesity, may be imperative to reducing the burdens of this poorly prognostic disease process. Overweight and obesity have been associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and have incited extensive interest in therapeutic interventions. However, within the last decade, studies have illustrated the positive effects of overweight and obesity on survival after the onset of HF, which has prompted a variance of opinion within the healthcare community. This article reviews data supporting both the negative and positive effects of overweight and obesity in relationship to HF with implications for future research, and describes recommendations for practice as it relates to lifestyle modification through diet, exercise, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.