Meta-Analysis Dispels Myth of "Healthy" Obese — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 3, 2013

Meta-Analysis Dispels Myth of "Healthy" Obese

By Amy Orciari Herman

Having a healthy metabolic profile — for example, normal blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood glucose — does not appear to protect obese adults from increased risks for cardiovascular events or death, according to a meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The analysis included eight observational studies comprising over 60,000 adults whose BMIs and metabolic profiles were assessed. Participants were defined as metabolically healthy if they did not meet criteria for the metabolic syndrome. (The syndrome was usually defined as having at least three of the following: increased waist circumference, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, hypertension, and elevated blood glucose.)

In the four studies with at least 10 years' follow-up, metabolically healthy obese adults had a significant, 24% increased risk for the combined endpoint of cardiovascular events or death, relative to metabolically healthy normal-weight adults. Similarly, metabolically healthy overweight participants had a 21% increase in risk, but this did not reach statistical significance.

Reader Comments (2)

Tracy Kolenchuk

This research simply demonstrates that we don't really understand 'healthy' and the tools we currently use to measure health are very poor.

PETER APOR Physician, Cardiology, Semmelweis Uni; Sports Hospital, Budapest

I treat and teach my patients and pupils in this sense

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