Even seemingly healthy
obese people are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, a new study
Researchers analysed data
from more than 6 500 participants in a San Antonio-based heart study who were
followed for between six and 10 years. They were checked for high blood
pressure, elevated triglycerides (a type of blood fat) and blood sugar levels,
insulin resistance and low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.
People with none or only
one of these conditions were classified as "metabolically healthy",
whether they were normal weight or overweight.
However, the researchers
found that obese people who were considered metabolically healthy still had an
increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, according to the study in the Journal
of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Not a benign condition
findings suggest metabolically healthy obesity is not a benign condition,"
study corresponding author Dr Carlos Lorenzo, of the University of Texas Health
Science Centre at San Antonio, said in a journal news release. "Regardless
of their current metabolic health, people who are obese face an increased risk
of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the future."
Although the study tied
so-called healthy obesity to a higher risk of developing diabetes or heart
disease, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The researchers also found
that normal-weight people with multiple metabolic conditions also had an
increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The findings show "the
importance of continuing to monitor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease in
both people with metabolically healthy obesity and those who have metabolic
abnormalities despite being a normal weight," Lorenzo said.
"If physicians and
patients are too complacent about assessing risk, we can miss important
opportunities to prevent the development of chronic and even deadly
conditions," he explained.
The US National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute has more about overweight
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