Being fat and being healthy is a myth. Looking at data since the 1950s, scientists established that while overweight people may not have hypertension or high levels of blood sugar, the extra pounds are still deadly.
A team of experts from Mount Sinai Hospital in Canada extracted data from eight older studies involving around 61,000 individuals of which 4,000 that died, suffered from cardiac problems. The previous studies looked into premature deaths, cardiac events, and other clinical characteristics in different patient groups categorized as being obese, overweight, or weighing normally based on their Body Mass Index or BMI.
The researchers also classified the subject data based on the presence of metabolic diseases of the subjects so some of the patients were healthy and others had several risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes, low levels of good cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels.
"Compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals, obese persons are at increased risk for adverse long-term outcomes even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities, suggesting that there is no healthy pattern of increased weight," the overview of the conclusion of the study stated. The results of the research were published on the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Basically, the proponents want to get the word out that "healthy obesity" does not exist.
"Not surprisingly, the evidence showed that metabolically healthy nonobese persons (the reference group) had the lowest risk for these outcomes and that being metabolically unhealthy, regardless of BMI, increased risk. The most interesting finding was that the metabolically healthy obese group was also at increased risk," stated Dr. James Hill and Dr. Holly Wyatt of the University of Colorado in an editorial that was published with the study.
The two health and fitness experts also pointed out limitations of the study done by doctors Caroline Kramer, Bernard Zinman, and Ravi Retnakan. The editorial put spotlight on the lack of information with regard to health behaviors of patients, data on weight gain, and lack of older subjects of the selected studies.
"It was popular to say, well, maybe we shouldn't worry about these people. This kind of myth was propagated by looking at individuals and really not following the cohort for long enough," said Zinman in an interview with Reuters Health.
The results of the study are consistent with recent findings that the chances of developing heart problems go up as an individual's weight goes up. However,it also contradicts newer short-term studies including one that concluded that overweight people tend to live longer than individuals with normal weight.