“Healthy Obesity – Is There Such a Thing ?” Metabolically

Metabolically healthy obesity (also known as “healthy obesity”) describes obesity not accompanied by metabolic health complications, such as diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. There are heated debates about what “healthy” metabolically healthy obesity actually is, and whether it renders people more vulnerable to other health problems. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists published a study suggesting obesity was responsible for 400,000 deaths a year, making it almost as deadly as smoking. But, it turned out to be a false alarm. The authors made methodological errors that skewed their number too high. Being “overweight,” but not obese, was not associated with an increased risk of death at all. Shockingly, in 2013, a meta-analysis study found that even when adjusting for smoking, age, and sex, overweight people—those with a body mass index of between 25 and 30—had a 6 percent lower risk of dying than normal-weight individuals. To the contrary, a 2018 study suggested that healthy obesity does, in fact, put certain people at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. But, what about the risk of premature death? The researchers found that obesity alone, in the absence of hypertension, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), and diabetes, is not associated with a heightened mortality risk.

Download the complete article (a PDF).