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Can You Really Be Healthy While Being Obese?

Obese woman squeezing her belly fat


People tend to assume that individuals who are thin are healthy, while people with obesity aren’t. But like everything, the reality is usually a small amount more complicated.

It’s not about being fat, but about being overweight or obese, in medical speak we talk. Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25, and obesity as having a BMI over 30 is how we define being overweight as. Obesity is typically subdivided into Class 1 obesity (BMI 30-35), Class 2 obesity (BMI 35-40), and sophistication 3 obesity (BMI greater than 40). Class 3 obesity is typically labeled as severe obesity, and is typically unfortunately remarked by the general public as “morbid obesity.”

You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms, by your height in meters, and so by dividing by your height again. To place it differently for people who prefer pounds and inches, someone 5’9” would be considered overweight if they weighed over 170lbs, and obese if they weighed over 203lbs. This theoretical person would be categorized as having severe obesity if they weighed over 270 pounds.

However, obesity isn’t synonymous with a pathological state. It’s clear that obesity increases the danger of developing insulin resistance, which ends up in diabetes, and atherosclerosis. However, someone with obesity needn’t necessarily develop these problems. In fact, the metabolically healthy obese is how these people are generally termed.


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However, that term is also misleading because, while people are also healthy today, they will not be healthy tomorrow. In an exceedingly 2017 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers examined the electronic health records of three.5 million people and categorized them as consistent with their body mass index and consistent with whether or not they’d diabetes, high-pressure level, or high cholesterol. Obese and non-obese patients that were metabolically healthy are what they were able to compare, i.e. freed from these 3 risk factors. During this database, about 15% or slightly over half 1,000,000 people were categorized as being obese and metabolically healthy.

Over the course of 5 years, obese individuals with none of the three risk factors were 49% more likely to develop a heart condition, 7% more likely to own a stroke, and 96% more likely to develop cardiopathy. What seems small but is vital once you apply it to the population as a full is in absolute terms, the rise in heart condition was about 1 extra case per 1000 individuals.

In this study, obesity did increase the chance of heart condition long run. However, it’s also important to notice that the quality risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol) carried a far heavier disease burden. Having one, two, or all three of these diseases increased the number of cardiac events by 5 cases per thousand, 7 cases per thousand, and 10 cases per thousand.

So the answer to the question is actually yes, people with obesity can still be healthy. However, obesity even on its own carries a specific cardiovascular risk even in metabolically healthy individuals is what this study, and prior research, shows us. It does however carry less risk than the standard risk factors of diabetes, high force per unit area, and cholesterol. So perhaps the answer to the question isn’t whether someone is healthy now, but whether those with obesity will face more health problems down the road. The solution to the question is certainly yes and if you are also obese, you would certainly need something that can help you lose weight.