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NewsBites December 2012 Issue

Almost Half of Obese Are Nonetheless "Metabolically Healthy"

Is it possible to be fat but still fit? The largest study ever to examine the "obesity paradox"— analyzing data on more than 43,000 Americans—says yes, and that almost half of all obese people are nonetheless "metabolically healthy." Those obese participants were found to be more fit than most, regardless of weight, and free of conditions such as insulin resistance, unhealthy cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. As a result, Spanish and Swedish researchers concluded in the European Heart Journal, these "metabolically healthy" obese people are at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer than normal-weight people. Researchers wrote, “There appears to be a subset of obese people who seem to be protected from obesity-related metabolic complications.” The more than one-third of obese participants classified as “metabolically healthy” after blood tests, treadmill testing and other assessments were at 38% lower risk of death from all causes compared to other obese subjects and at no greater risk than metabolically healthy but normal-weight participants.

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