A recent study is debunking the concept of healthy obesity -- or the idea that fat is fun. Healthy obesity does not last long.
Researchers from the University College London's (UCL) Department of Epidemiology and Public Health have revealed that the concept of healthy obesity is a deceptive idea and that obese people who seem healthy become less healthy in the long term.
The study involved over 2,500 males and females between 39 and 62 years old. The researchers measured the body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin resistance and fasting plasma glucose for all the participants. They described health obesity as the condition wherein a person is obese but has no metabolic risk factors.
Initially, 181 participants were categorized as obese, which also included 66 people who were healthy obese.
The study examined the participants for about 20 years and found that over 51 percent healthy obese people had become unhealthy obese as time passed. About 11 percent of the healthy obese people lost weight over time and they were categorized as healthy non-obese. The remainder of the participants were still healthy obese.
The study also found that six percent of participants, who were initially categorized in the healthy non-obese group, had become unhealthy obese.
"Healthy obese adults were also much more likely to become unhealthy obese than healthy or unhealthy non-obese adults, indicating that healthy obesity is a high-risk state with serious implications for disease risk," said Joshua Bell, lead author of the study.
The authors suggest that the key objective of the latest research was to understand if healthy obese people maintain the same healthy metabolism for a longer period or if they progressively become unhealthy obese.
This is the first study to analyze healthy obesity in the long term.
Bell posits that healthy obese people are at elevated risks of getting cardiovascular disease in comparison to adults who have normal weight. However, this threat is not very high when compared to unhealthy obese people.
Healthy obesity can be considered valid only if healthy obese people remain healthy for a long time. Being healthy as obese is just a phase. The study proves that the concept of healthy obesity is misleading. All obese people, healthy or unhealthy, should try to take care of their health to avoid any medical complications in later parts of their lives.
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.