‘Fat and healthy’ myth busted

Obesity raises risks even when individual is metabolically healthy

Even when an individual is metabolically healthy, being obese increases risk of premature death and heart disease, a study finds.

The study, a meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that looked at eight studies involving a total of 61,386 subjects tracked for 10 years or longer, debunked the notion that a person can be “fat but fit,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In recent years, more short-term studies have suggested that conditions long linked to obesity—cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer—might be the product of metabolic dysfunction rather than obesity itself.

The researchers found that as body-mass index rises, so does blood pressure, insulin resistance and waist circumference, while levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) decrease. The study’s authors emphasized that, though obese and overweight subjects may not have reached the point defined as metabolic illness, weight gain appears to put them on that path.