There’s no such thing as ‘obese and healthy’
If you’re tipping the scale on the heavy side, but don’t yet seem to have any serious health issues, you may consider yourself overweight but healthy.
However, you’d be wrong, according to the findings of a new Canadian study out this week.
Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto reviewed the data of more than 61,000 people collected during eight separate studies tracking participants over an average of ten years. According to the findings, there is no “fit but fat.” If your body mass index (BMI) measures 30 or greater, which is considered obese, but you don’t yet have any signs of metabolic issues—such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar—you may still be at a 24 percent greater risk for heart attack, stroke or premature death.
“The whole idea that we don’t need to target health care resources toward obese people whose lab tests are ‘normal’ turns out to be false,” said Dr. Catherine Kramer, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in endocrinology, in a statement. “If they can start to lose weight, that’s a benefit.”
The study findings suggest that obesity is associated with risks that may accumulate over time, even before metabolic and cardiovascular issues become apparent, the researchers’ state in the study, which was published in the Annuls of Internal Medicine this week.
“This isn’t necessarily a hard-and-fast rule,” says Dr. Arturo Olivera, Jr., gastroenterologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and medical director of Olivera Weight Management. “The overwhelming majority of people who are obese are unhealthy, but there is a portion who have no current health issues.”
Dr. Olivera says that, for those who are active and obese, it’s imperative to lose weight to avoid future health issues.
“Being overweight, in general, is an unhealthy way of living,” he says. “It certainly predisposes you to future metabolic conditions that risk your health. We like to see anyone who can get down to a healthier weight to minimize those risks.”
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