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Obesity ‘not necessarily a sign of poor metabolic health’

A new study published in the European Heart Journal has highlighted the fact that it is possible to be obese while remaining metabolically fit and healthy.

Analysis carried out at by an international team based at the University of South Carolina – which assessed data from 43,265 people – has shone a spotlight on the subset of obese people who are at no greater risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer than people of a normal weight.

These subjects were found to be free of conditions such as insulin resistance, diabetes and high cholesterol or blood pressure, while their hearts and lungs also performed better than those of other obese people.

According to the researchers, the existence of this subset of people needs to be borne in mind by doctors when assessing treatment priorities.

Dr Francisco Ortega, first author of the study and a research associate affiliated with the University of Granada, said: «Our data supports the idea that interventions might be more urgently needed in metabolically unhealthy and unfit obese people, since they are at a higher risk.»

This comes after a report from the University of California – Los Angeles found that overweight people are often at a lower risk of suffering adverse outcomes from heart failure than slimmer patients, despite their higher risk of developing heart disease.