The common belief that obese and overweight are not as healthy as their counterparts has been challenged by an Indian researcher with a new study.
Adarsh Gupta from Weight Management Services Program at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine and his team analyzed the records of 454 individuals, who were seen as patients at the medical school.
Each had a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, a standard for defining obesity and the group's average body fat percentage was over 46 pc.
The analysis revealed that a distinct sub-group of 135 metabolically healthy obese (MHO) individuals who, despite their high BMIs and body fat percentages, had none of the measurable health risks such as high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
Another sub-group of 167 individuals was categorized as medically unhealthy obese (MUO) because their corresponding results for the same measurements indicated an elevated risk for chronic disease.
"Our results indicate that metabolically healthy obese individuals may represent as much as 20 to 30 pc of obese population," said Dr Gupta, director of Weight Management Services at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine.
The study showed that 17.4 pc of the MUO individuals were being treated for diabetes and more than 30 pc were prescribed medications to help lower their cholesterol levels.
Additionally, the MUO group was three times more likely (22.5 pc vs. 7.4 pct) to have been prescribed medication to control high blood pressure.