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Heart Attack Grill spokesman dies ... of pneumonia?

March 04, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Luis Scott / Arizona Republic…)

When a nearly 600-pound man who boldly promoted food at a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill dies, one of the first reactions is likely to be ... , well, not one of surprise. But then comes the news that Blair River might have died of pneumonia.

Hold on. Don't order up that 8,000-calorie burger just yet. Note that there is a potential link between obesity and pneumonia.

"After accounting for factors such as lifestyle and education, moderately obese men -- those with a body mass index between 30 and 34.9 -- had a 40% greater risk of pneumonia compared with those of normal weight (BMI of less than 24.9). Men who were severely obese, having a BMI greater than 35, were twice as likely to get pneumonia," said this news article last year.

And of course, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, obesity also increases the risks of:

"-Coronary heart disease
-Type 2 diabetes
-Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
-Hypertension (high blood pressure)
-Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
-Stroke
-Liver and Gallbladder disease
-Sleep apnea and respiratory problems -Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)"

This is not to say we don't feel sympathy for River and his loved ones. We most certainly do. But we'd like to prevent as many future condolences as we can.

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