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Jun 21, 2021
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Scientists warn: “metabolically healthy” obesity cannot be considered healthy

What is metabolically healthy obesity

Obesity is a major risk factor for hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diseases. It is usually accompanied by an increase in blood glucose levels, a deterioration in tissue sensitivity to insulin, and other metabolic disorders.

Some obese people do not develop typical metabolic disorders. For example, they may have normal blood glucose and lipids. This type of obesity is called metabolically healthy (MHO). According to various sources, it can be found in 3-22% of people.

MLO can turn into “normal” obesity, in this case, metabolic indicators “deteriorate”. Recent research has shown that MLOs can remain “healthy” for many years.

Why Obesity Is Not Healthy

In a new scientific work, Scottish scientists wanted to answer the question of how the MLO affects the risk of developing various diseases. To do this, they analyzed the data of more than 380 thousand people, whom they followed for an average of about 11 years.

The authors of the study found that people with MLO tend to be younger, less likely to watch TV, more physically active, have higher levels of education and income, and eat less red and processed meat than people with “normal” obesity.

Compared to study participants who were not obese, people with MHO had a 4.3 times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart attacks and strokes – by 18%, heart failure – by 76%, lung diseases – by 28 %. They also had a higher risk of dying from any cause.

With “normal” obesity, the risk of heart and respiratory diseases was usually higher than with MLO. However, people with MLOs had a 28% higher risk of heart failure.

During the observation period, the MHO turned into “normal”, metabolically unhealthy, obesity within 3-5 years.

Scientists have concluded that people with MLO cannot be called healthy. They are convinced that they need to strive to lose weight, regardless of their current metabolic rates. They also believe that the term “metabolically healthy obesity” is best avoided as it can be disorienting for people.


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