The so-called “healthy obesity” refers to a condition in which people are obese but have no metabolic syndrome (e.g., type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol).
Even these people look healthy, they do have higher heart disease risk, according to a new study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The research also shows that people with normal weight but have metabolic syndrome have higher risk of heart disease too.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research conducted the largest study of its kind to date comparing weight and metabolic status to cardiovascular disease risks.
They used healthy data from 3.5 million British adults who were all initially free of heart disease. They also checked these people’s health record after 5 years to see the development of heart disease and stroke.
The results showed that metabolically healthy people had different levels of heart disease risk based on their BMI:
People who had healthy obesity had a 49% higher risk of coronary heart disease, 7% higher risk of cerebrovascular disease and a 96% higher risk of heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy people.
In addition, normal weight people with metabolic syndrome had higher risk of the above diseases too.
The researchers suggest that “healthy obesity” is clearly not a harmless condition to physical health. This term should not be used, and idea that obesity can be healthy is just wrong.
In many countries, it is recommended that overweight or obesity is a main risk factor for heart disease assessment. It is also important to take metabolic syndrome as a risk factor for heart disease even the patient has normal weight.
Finally, the researchers suggest that obese patients, irrespective of their metabolic status, should lose weight. This will help prevent heart disease events.