Study finds “healthy obesity” at higher cardio risk

May 31, 2018

The study, recently published online in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, was carried out by researchers Nathalie Eckel, Dr  Yanping Li,  Olga Kuxhaus, Prof Norbert Stefan, Prof Frank B Hu, and Prof Matthias B Schulze.

“Cardiovascular disease risk among individuals across different categories of BMI might depend on their metabolic health. It remains unclear to what extent metabolic health status changes over time and whether this affects cardiovascular disease risk, “the researchers said in reference to the study, which aims  to examine the association between metabolic health and its change over time and cardiovascular disease risk across BMI categories.

The US National Institutes of Health, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research – funded  study is  a 30- year follow-up from a prospective cohort study which was started in 1976 involving over a hundred thousand female nurses recruited to the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS). Returned questionnaires in 1980 were used as baseline in the current study. “After excluding women with a history of cardiovascular disease or cancer, with missing body weight and with underweight, 90,257 women were followed-up from 1980 to 2010 for incident cardiovascular disease. Participants were cross-classified by BMI categories, metabolic health (defined by absence of diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia), and change in metabolic health status during follow-up, “ the authors explained.

Cases of cardiovascular diseases have since been documented. It has been found too that cardiovascular disease risk of women with metabolically healthy obesity was increased compared with women with metabolically healthy normal weight, but risk was considerably higher in women with metabolically unhealthy normal weight, overweight and obesity.

Other findings also suggest that women with initial metabolic health are at higher risk for diabetes and hypertension .

Obesity remains a risk factor for heart diseases, even when metabolic health is maintained during long periods of time, the study says.  However, risks are highest for metabolically unhealthy women across all BMI categories, it adds.


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