'Fat But Fit' Study Finds There Isn't Really Such a Thing


Overweight people also have an increased risk of stroke and nearly double the risk of heart failure, University of Birmingham researchers found.

There is no evidence to support the idea that it is possible to be healthy yet obese, say scientists, following a study of 3.5 million NHS patients.

Researchers have reaffirmed that having a higher mass index contributes to the development of heart disease.

Over recent years, a number of studies have indicated people can be overweight or obese, but still remain "metabolically healthy", meaning they do not have the conditions that normally go alongside obesity, such as high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats, poor blood sugar control or diabetes. Whether MHO is associated with excess risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events is a subject of debate. In this new study, the authors address these limitations in a large contemporary cohort, based on linked primary care electronic health records.

The researchers from the University of Birmingham in the U.K used linked electronic medical records from 1995 through 2015 in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), which is a large United Kingdom database of general practice records. They identified adults who did not have cardiovascular disease when they were first included in the programme.

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They divided the population into groups according to BMI and the presence or absence of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.

Several studies in the past have suggested that the idea of "metabolically healthy" obese individuals is an illusion, but they have been smaller than this one.

The study focused on examining whether the risk of developing four cardiovascular conditions was different for normal weight people that have no metabolic conditions or people with metabolically healthy obesity.

People regarded as obese but healthy also have an increased risk of stroke and nearly double the risk of heart failure, researchers found.

These figures held true even when factors such as whether people smoked were taken into account.

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Experts have long debated whether people can truly be "healthy obese" or "fat but fit", characterised by having normal markers of metabolic health despite having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Against these trends, MHO individuals had a 9% lower risk of PVD.

Your waistline isn't the sole indicator of health-but it shouldn't be disregarded if an active individual without symptoms is still overweight.

Medical scientists from the University of Birmingham have countered the theory that people can be fat but medically fit with new research which claims that obese people remain at greater risk of developing heart disease, strokes and heart failure than people of normal weight.

The British Heart Foundation recommends some heart health advice to obese people, such as not smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and limiting the amount of alcohol.

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