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Obesity can't be healthy, conference hears

Wednesday May 17th, 2017

Obese people who are labelled 'metabolically healthy' are still at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than normal weight people, a conference is to hear today.

Metabolically healthy obesity is being clinically obese but without associated metabolic complications such as abnormal blood fats, poor blood sugar control or diabetes, or high blood pressure, researchers say.

Dr Rishi Caleyachetty of Birmingham University, UK, and his team looked at the possible link using primary care electronic health records from 1995 to 2015 on 3.5 million adults.

The population was split into groups based on body mass index, and metabolic abnormalities - diabetes, hypertension, and abnormal blood fats.

Those with metabolically healthy obesity had a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a 7% increased risk of cerebrovascular disease and double the risk of heart failure, compared to normal weight individuals.

When cigarette smokers were excluded, those with Metabolically Healthy Obesity had an 11% increased risk of developing peripheral vascular disease.

The research is presented today (17 May) at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal.

Dr Caleyachetty says: "This is the largest prospective study of the association between metabolically health obesity and cardiovascular disease events.

"Metabolically healthy obese individuals are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals. The priority of health professionals should be to promote and facilitate weight loss among obese persons, regardless of the presence or absence of metabolic abnormalities."

He adds: "At the population-level, so-called metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition and perhaps it is better not to use this term to describe an obese person, regardless of how many metabolic complications they have."

Research presented at the Oral Presentation OS2:OC54 at the European Congress on Obesity, held in Porto, Portugal, from 17-20 May 2017.

Tags: Diet & Food | Heart Health | UK News

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