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Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk in Metabolically Healthy Obese Individuals

Aug 22, 2013

Do metabolically healthy obese individuals have higher risks for diabetes and CVD?…

The North West Adelaide Health study in Australia included 4,506 randomly selected participants who were 18 years and older. Metabolic risk, defined as two or more International Diabetes Federation metabolic syndrome criteria excluding waist circumference, and BMI categories were used to stratified participants who were free of CVD/stroke and not underweight. Smoking status, socioeconomic disadvantage and physical inactivity were used to correlate the metabolically healthy obese participants with the metabolically healthy normal weight participants.

Researchers found that metabolically healthy obese participants (n=454) were more likely to develop metabolic risk compare to metabolically healthy normal weight participants (n=1,172) (33.1% vs. 15.5%, P < 0.001). Moreover, metabolic healthy participants were twice likely to develop new incident of diabetes. However, there was no significant difference in risk associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke among the groups.

Researchers also analyzed the results among obese participants.

The results showed that the majority of metabolically healthy obese participants were over 40 years with lower waist circumference and higher leg fat compared to compare with metabolically at-risk obese participants.

Appleton SL, Seaborn CJ, Visvanathan R, et al. Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes in the Metabolically Healthy Obese Phenotype: A cohort study. Diabetes Care. 2013 Aug;36(8):2388-94