Obese people who are free from diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, may seem healthy but are 96 per cent more likely to be at risk of heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals, a study has claimed.
The findings showed that the people touted as being "healthy obese" also had a 49 per cent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and a seven per cent higher risk of cerebrovascular disease compared to those who are normal weight without metabolic conditions.
"So-called "metabolically healthy" obesity is clearly not a harmless condition and the term should no longer be used in order to prevent misleading individuals that obesity can be healthy," said lead author Rishi Caleyachetty, from the University of Birmingham.
"Obese individuals with no metabolic risk factors are still at a higher risk of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure than normal weight metabolically healthy individuals," Caleyachetty added.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the team used electronic health records of 3.5 million British adults to assess cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease (in particular strokes), heart failure, or peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
The study raise questions about the concept of "healthy obesity".
The researchers warned clinicians not to ignore the increased cardiovascular health risks of those who are classed as either "healthy obese" or deemed to be "normal weight" but have metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes.
"Obese patients, irrespective of their metabolic status, should be encouraged to lose weight and that early detection and management of normal weight individuals with metabolic abnormalities will be beneficial in the prevention of CVD events," suggested Krish Nirantharakumar, senior lecturer from the varsity.