Researchers Say That The 'Fat But Fit' Theory Is A Myth


"What was new from this study for me is that it showed that people who were overweight or obese were at increased risk of heart disease even though they may have been healthy in every other respect".

The team looked for markers of being metabolically healthy, having normal blood pressure and cholesterol and no diabetes, while also being obese.

What lead author Dr. Rishi Caleyachetty and his colleagues discovered was that individuals who had a BMI of at least 30 at the start of the study were 50 percent more likely to contract coronary heart disease than those considered to be at a healthy weight.

A large study of 3.5 million people has found that apparently "healthy" obese people are still at higher risk of cardiovascular disease events than the general population.

In this study, researchers analyzed 1995-2015 electronic health records of 3.5 million people aged 18 and older in the United Kingdom who were initially free of heart disease.

People with metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) - known as "fat but fit" - are clinically obese in terms of their body mass index (BMI), but do not have metabolic complications that usually come with obesity, such as abnormal blood fats, poor blood sugar control or diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Experts have long debated whether people can be "healthy obese" or "fat but fit".

New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Porto, Portugal (17-20) May shows that so called "metabolically healthy" obese people are still at higher risk of cardiovascular disease events such as heart failure or stroke than normal weight people. They had a 7% increased risk of cerebrovascular disease - problems affecting the blood supply to the brain - which can cause a stroke, and double the risk of heart failure. They then tracked how many people suffered one of four cardiovascular conditions, coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease (including stroke), heart failure and peripheral vascular disease - a disorder of blood circulation.

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A team from the Institute of Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham has now cast doubt on this idea in the biggest study of its kind.

The idea of people being fat but fit is nothing more than a myth, health experts have discovered. The results also took into account demographics and smoking behavior.

While there was an overall lower risk of peripheral vascular disease, "healthy" obese people who never smoked still had an increased risk.

The British study reverses the assumption that overweight people can be healthy as long as they exercise and eat well.

"Can you be fat and fit?"

It was thought that up to a third of obese people were healthy.

'Ask scientists stuck in a lab and you might not.

And other studies have suggested that is not always the amount of fat that matters but where where the excess fat is carried on the body that can affect fitness and health.