'Fat but fit' still at higher risk of heart disease

26 May 2017

"The idea that people can be fat but medically fit is a myth," reports BBC News.

The story is based on research from scientists at the University of Birmingham, reported at a medical conference but not yet published.

The researchers used information from a UK database of GP records covering 3.5 million people, to calculate people's chances of getting cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke.

They focused on people who were obese based on a body mass index (BMI) over 30, but who did not have associated risk factors of high blood pressure, diabetes or abnormal fats in their blood.

The researchers wanted to know if this group, sometimes called "metabolically healthy obese" people, had a raised risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people of recommended weight (a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9).

The research found they had a higher chance of heart disease, stroke or transient ischaemic attack (mini stroke) and heart failure, compared to those of recommended weight.  However the risk was not as high a for obese people who also had diabetes, high blood pressure or abnormal fats.

Whilst the research is unpublished, and the validity of the study can't be checked, it confirms that keeping to a healthy weight is likely to lower your chances of cardiovascular disease, which is not a surprising finding.

NHS Choices article

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