This report presents a review of the literature evaluating the association between overweight and obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and whether the relationship is direct or indirect. In many instances the report examines the relationship between CVD or its metabolic risk factors and ‘excess body weight’, meaning all degrees of overweight taken as one group. This is because the literature does not always focus on traditional categories such as ‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’.

The review draws on major Australian and international studies and data to examine the relationship between excess body weight and CVD, and its major biomedical risk factors. The main findings in this report, based on the literature reviewed in these studies, are summarised in the report.