'Healthy obesity' still poses diabetes, heart disease risks

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease and diabetes is still a threat for the healthy obese – even if they appear to have a good metabolic profile.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio analyzed data on more than 6,500 participants in a heart study. Over the course of six to 10 years, the subjects had their blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, blood pressure and triglycerides checked.

Participants who showed problems with one or none of these factors were considered to be metabolically healthy, regardless of whether or not they were overweight.

Risk still apparent

Study author Dr. Carlos Lorenzo said that while some obese people in the study could technically be considered metabolically sound, they still showed an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

"Unfortunately, our findings suggest metabolically healthy obesity is not a benign condition," Lorenzo said. "Regardless of their current metabolic health, people who are obese face an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the future."

The study also showed that normal-weight individuals with multiple metabolic risk factors also had a high risk of diabetes and heart disease. And while the research linked healthy obesity to these conditions, it didn't prove a causal relationship.

If anything, the findings point to the importance of careful monitoring when it comes to people who are metabolically healthy but overweight, 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 noted.

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Source: Health Day

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