A new study claims that even people considered healthy obese still have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and that being “fat but fit” is just a myth. Although such individuals are metabolically healthy, they still present a high risk of strokes and heart failure.
This latest research was conducted by scientists from the University of Birmingham. Its results were presented during the European Congress on Obesity held in Porto, Portugal.
Healthy Obese but Still at Risk
Metabolically healthy obese is the term applied to people that don’t have any health problems like high blood sugar levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal blood fats. Despite being declared obese, they do not suffer from any metabolic problems. This is also why some name them healthy obese.
However, this latest research determined that their risk of cardiovascular disease is still higher than the value registered by a clinically fit person.
The researchers analyzed over 3.5 million healthy obese people as part of their study. Data for this came from The Health Improvement Network. All of the individuals included in the research were 18 or older and did not have any cardiovascular problems at the start of the study.
The research team determined the metabolic health of the participants by dividing them into groups. They were split according to the presence or absence of metabolic abnormalities.
The researchers looked for problems like hypertension and diabetes and also monitored the participants’ BMIs. Then, they selected study participants that did not have any metabolic abnormalities.
After that, the scientists examined the risk of healthy obese people of developing cardiovascular conditions. They compared it to the risk of healthy normal-weight people. Which showed that even healthy overweight people still presented a high risk of stroke and heart failure.
“Metabolically healthy obese individuals are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals,” said Dr. Rishi Caleyachetty, the study lead.
The researchers observed that their healthy obese participants had a 50% increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to regular weight people. They also presented a 7% higher risk of cerebrovascular diseases and a twice as high risk of heart failure.
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