Are people with metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) really as healthy as they seem? Contrary to popular belief, they still face a significantly higher risk of heart disease compared to individuals of normal weight. In fact, even without other health conditions, their risk is elevated by 50 percent.
A groundbreaking study by German researchers has shattered the notion of being “fat but fit.” Despite appearing healthy, obese individuals are found to have a heightened risk of developing diabetes and heart disease of up to 50%. Surprisingly, 15-20% of people with obesity show no signs of metabolic complications typically associated with the condition such as abnormal blood sugar control, high blood fats, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and other cardiovascular disease markers.
The study delved deep into the phenomenon of MHO and revealed that obese women have a significantly higher risk of developing this condition. This risk ranges from 7% to 28%, much higher than the risk for men which falls between 2% and 19%. Astonishingly, it is also estimated that half of all obese individuals experience at least two weight-related complications. These numbers highlight the urgent need for addressing obesity and its associated health risks.
Understanding obesity and its impact on our health lies in examining the behavior of adipose tissue rather than relying solely on BMI measurements. Research reveals that the size and inflammation of our fat-storing cells, known as adipocytes, play a crucial role in determining the complications associated with obesity. Those with normally sized adipocytes are less likely to experience the harmful effects of obesity, while individuals with enlarged and inflamed adipocytes are more susceptible to conditions like insulin resistance and metabolic issues.
When individuals with obesity have fat stored internally, specifically around vital organs like the liver, the data clearly indicates a higher likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to those who distribute fat more evenly throughout their bodies. Dysfunctional adipose tissue can wreak havoc on your body. From tissue damage and fibrosis to the release of harmful molecules, the consequences can be dire. But it doesn’t stop there – these fat-secreted hormones, known as adipokines, have the potential to directly impact your vascular system, paving the way for atherosclerosis.
The team behind the study emphasizes the importance of treatment and weight loss recommendations for those with metabolically healthy obesity. Even though they may not have other risk factors, the presence of excess fat and dysfunctional adipose tissue still increases the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Weight management and weight loss recommendations are therefore crucial for the well-being of those living with metabolically healthy obesity.
Understanding these factors is pivotal in combating the health consequences of obesity. This means that those who were once considered low priority for obesity treatments should now be given the attention they deserve.
To view the original scientific study click below:
People with ‘healthy obesity’ are still at increased risk of disease