Fat, but healthy: Is there any truth in the myth?


Obese patients, regardless of whether they are fit or not, have a 28% higher cardiovascular risk than people in good physical shape with normal weight.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, reveals that patients in good shape, usually referred to as “metabolically healthy obese” or “fat but fit”, are not exempt from presenting with cardiovascular events.

Dr. Moisés De Vicente – Neolife Medical Team


A new article has partially contradicted the myth that “being in good physical shape, even when you are overweight, decreases your cardiovascular risk”.

At present, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the developed world. That is why initiatives to fight against the occurrence of the disease is key. Undoubtedly obesity is one of the great pandemics of our era and is related closely to cardiovascular risk. Due to multiple factors that influence our life style (diet, sedentary lifestyle, etc.) our population is “fattening” at an alarming rate. And, unfortunately, this situation affects the younger ones more and more frequently. It is generally accepted that, in cases where a person is obese and unable to lose weight (for whatever reason), the ideal is to at least be in good physical shape as this will reduce the likelihood of presenting with coronary disease. As we discussed in a previous article on our blog, there are several studies that support this, although in our opinion the ideal is to be slim and in good physical shape. Fat, but healthy: Is there any truth in the myth? a new article has been written that partially contradicts the myth that “being in good physical shape, even if you are overweight, reduces your cardiovascular risk” and provides us reasons why this is the case. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, reveals that patients in good shape, usually referred to as “metabolically healthy obese” or “fat but fit”, are not exempt from presenting with cardiovascular events. The result of this publication confirms that obese patients, regardless of whether they are fit or not, have a 28% higher cardiovascular risk than people in good physical shape and who present with a normal weight. Therefore, weight loss in obese patients, and maintaining an ideal weight in non-obese patients, is the primary objective if we are to achieve a reduction in cardiovascular diseases. More than half a million patients from 10 different European countries were included in the study, with a average follow-up of 12 years. They were classified according to the conventional categories used by the OMS and their BMI. The average age of the participants was 53.6 years and up to 68% were women. The mean BMI was 26.1. Likewise, the participants were divided into categories of healthy and unhealthy depending on whether they presented with 3 or more metabolic diseases from the following list: HBP, high blood glucose levels, high triglyceride levels or low HDL or a waist circumference greater than 94 cm in men and 80 cm in women. Lifestyle factors such as diet, smoker, non-smoker or the socioeconomic level were also taken into account when interpreting the data. Comparing the two groups, healthy and unhealthy, it was discovered that the latter presented with more than twice as many cardiovascular events as healthy patients, regardless of whether they were obese or not. Similarly, between healthy patients there were notable differences between the obese and those who were not. Therefore, the obese were shown to have 28% more cardiovascular events, and patients who were overweight were up to 26% more likely to suffer an event, than those who were at a normal weight. The researchers have emphasized that it is possible that this excess weight is not the only factor that may lead to an increase in cardiovascular risk that was evident in healthy “chubby” patients. It is likely that having HBP alone, or being a smoker (for example) has a direct impact on the occurrence of events. The conclusions of the study are clear. It is recommended, regardless of the general health of the patient, their physical form or any other cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, diabetes, etc.), that they maintain a weight within the normal range, since this will decrease the likelihood of presenting with a cardiovascular event in the future.

At Neolife we are already doing this, because we are firm believers that the body must remain in a state of excellence in a general way. Not only is it necessary to achieve and maintain all of our biomarkers at a level of excellence, but it is also essential to achieve an optimum weight. In this way, and with this panoramic vision, we will be able to effectively reduce our cardiovascular risk, allowing us to live a healthy and full life as we go through our remaining years.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

(1) European Heart Journal: ‘Separate and combined associations of obesity and metabolic health with coronary heart disease: a pan-European case-cohort analysis‘. Imperial College London news release. British Heart Foundation.