December 3rd, 2013
03:04 PM ET

Study: There's no such thing as healthy obesity

You've probably heard someone say, "I'm fat but fit." Several recent studies have suggested this statement could be true. But a new review of existing studies published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine may put a stop to the rumor.

"Healthy obesity" is just a myth, the study authors say.

Some background

Scientists know that overweight people can be what they call "metabolically healthy." This means that despite having a high body mass index, or BMI, someone can have a small waistline, normal blood pressure and low cholesterol levels, and show little to no risk for developing diabetes. The opposite is also true; thin people can be metabolically unhealthy, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and fat that accumulates only around their middle, which is a known risk for heart disease.

This kind of paradox highlights "the complexity of the relationship between weight and mortality," the authors of this new meta-analysis write. A lot of factors impact a person's cardiovascular health, including how much they exercise and when they put on the weight.

The study

The researchers evaluated the eight studies, which included a total of more than 60,000 participants. All of the studies had recorded participants' BMI and their metabolic status, as well as any fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack.

Data analysts split the participants into five groups:

- Metabolically unhealthy and normal weight
- Metabolically unhealthy and overweight
- Metabolically unhealthy and obese
- Overweight but metabolically healthy
- Obese but metabolically healthy

They then compared the number of cardiovascular events that happened in each of these groups with their control group: a sample of normal weight, metabolically healthy people.

The results

As they expected, the researchers found that their control group - the normal weight, metabolically healthy people - had the fewest cardiovascular events of all the groups.

They also found that being metabolically unhealthy puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, even if you're in the normal BMI range. In fact, the metabolically unhealthy thin people had the same risk as the metabolically unhealthy obese group in the short-term.

Perhaps more surprising was that they found little difference in the risk for heart disease between metabolically healthy overweight individuals and  metabolically healthy normal weight people. The same was true for metabolically healthy obese people.

So why do they say healthy obesity is a myth?

Because when researchers looked specifically at studies that followed participants for at least 10 years, it showed the metabolically healthy obese group had an increased risk of death and cardiovascular events compared to those of normal weight.

And why have some previous studies suggested you can be overweight and healthy?

The study authors say those studies included metabolically unhealthy individuals in the "normal weight" control groups, which influenced their results.


Every study has a caveat - something the scientists couldn't control for or didn't analyze that may be affecting the results. The studies analyzed by these scientists did not always have adequate information on the participants' health behaviors, such as what they ate or whether they smoked, and did not collect data about the participants' weight gain over time.  Plus, not every age group was represented equally in these studies.


Excess weight will affect your body, even if the damage isn't apparent now, the study authors say.  And normal weight people shouldn't consider themselves healthy without checking their cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.

"Obesity is taking a toll on the health and well-being of Americans," Drs. James Hill and Holly Wyatt write in an accompanying editorial in the journal. "Accepting that no level of obesity is healthy is an important step toward deciding how best to use our resources and our political will to develop and implement strategies to combat the obesity epidemic."

soundoff (1,038 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Santa Ana

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    June 18, 2021 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair Fountain Valley


    June 18, 2021 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 18, 2021 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. bars open near me

    Good post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!


    June 18, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. bars near me

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this matter here on your web page.


    June 18, 2021 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    There is certainly a great deal to find out about this issue. I love all of the points you have made.


    June 19, 2021 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair California

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 19, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    After looking over a handful of the blog posts on your site, I truly appreciate your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and tell me your opinion.


    June 19, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 19, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair

    Excellent article. I am going through some of these issues as well..


    June 19, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair Shop

    After I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!


    June 19, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Nearby RV Repair

    There's certainly a great deal to find out about this topic. I like all the points you have made.


    June 19, 2021 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. SEO Marketing Firm

    Saved as a favorite, I love your website!


    June 20, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Local Marketing Services

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't fail me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I truly believed you would probably have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you can fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.


    June 20, 2021 at 04:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Internet Marketing Experts

    I really like it when people get together and share thoughts. Great blog, keep it up!


    June 20, 2021 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Social Media Marketing Agency Around Me

    You've made some decent points there. I looked on the net for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.


    June 20, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Internet Marketing Specialist

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.


    June 20, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Frederic Budzynski


    June 20, 2021 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Anne Chesla


    June 20, 2021 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Mervin Scopa


    June 20, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Lenny Purkey

    Iím amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I came across this during my search for something regarding this.


    June 20, 2021 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Isiah Sukup

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Cheers!


    June 20, 2021 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Christene Lenorud

    I could not refrain from commenting. Very well written!


    June 20, 2021 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Oswaldo Cormany


    June 20, 2021 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Shanti Greenhoward


    June 20, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 20, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. cvs near me

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you ought to write more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people don't discuss such topics. To the next! Kind regards!!


    June 20, 2021 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. casinos near me


    June 21, 2021 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 21, 2021 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. burlington coat factory near me


    June 21, 2021 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Seal Beach

    Can I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody who genuinely knows what they're discussing over the internet. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people must read this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you aren't more popular given that you surely have the gift.


    June 21, 2021 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Santa Ana


    June 21, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. watch repair near me

    That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise infoÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 21, 2021 at 07:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. autozone near me

    Good day! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up for your great info you've got here on this post. I'll be coming back to your site for more soon.


    June 21, 2021 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repairs Near My Location

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your website is useful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 21, 2021 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. beer near me

    Good post. I'm going through a few of these issues as well..


    June 21, 2021 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Nearby RV Repairs

    I really like it when individuals come together and share ideas. Great website, stick with it!


    June 21, 2021 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 24 Hour RV Repair Near Me

    Hello, I believe your website may be having browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great site!


    June 21, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Brake Repair Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Mercedes High Top Van Repair Shop

    There is definately a great deal to know about this topic. I love all of the points you made.


    June 21, 2021 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Thanks for supplying these details.


    June 21, 2021 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. mechanic near me

    May I just say what a relief to discover an individual who truly understands what they're discussing over the internet. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people have to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you aren't more popular since you most certainly have the gift.


    June 21, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Len Filsaime

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs


    June 21, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Karissa Sorrels

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs


    June 21, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Custom Van Repair Shop

    Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 21, 2021 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Santa Ana

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back once again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 21, 2021 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Diesel Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 22, 2021 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be an easy method you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!


    June 22, 2021 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Chevy Van Repair

    After I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!


    June 22, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Leave a Reply to buy hair loss medication


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.