Fat but medically fit is a myth, say medical researchers

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The idea that people can be fat but medically fit is a myth, researchers have found.

A new study has discovered that people who are overweight or obese still carry a higher risk of coronary heart disease despite having healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Experts at Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge examined data from half a million people in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study.

Experts followed volunteers over a 12-year period and found 7,647 of them across eight European countries suffered coronary heart disease incidents including heart attacks.

Researchers examined participants’ body mass index (BMI) and whether they were metabolically “healthy” or “unhealthy”.

People were classed as unhealthy if they had three or more metabolic markers including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of cholesterol or an “elevated” waist circumference.

Researchers found that compared to the healthy normal weight group, those classed as unhealthy had more than double the risk of coronary heart disease whether they were normal weight, overweight or obese.

And even overweight and obese people who were deemed “healthy” by their metabolic markets carried a higher risk.

Lead author Dr Camille Lassale said: “Our findings suggest that if a patient is overweight or obese, all efforts should be made to help them get back to a healthy weight, regardless of other factors.

“Even if their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol appear within the normal range, excess weight is still a risk factor.

“Overall, our findings challenge the concept of the ‘healthy obese’. The research shows that those overweight individuals who appear to be otherwise healthy are still at increased risk of heart disease.”

Coronary heart disease occurs when coronary arteries become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty material.

The main symptoms include angina, heart attacks and heart failure.


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