A person can be obese and metabolically healthy at the same time, says study conducted by Professor Francisco B. Ortega, a researcher at the University of Granada Department of Physical Education and at the Karolinska Institut Department of BioSciences and Nutrition (Sweden).
"Obesity is associated with a large number of chronic diseases as heart diseases or cancer. However, there is a group of obese people that do not suffer the metabolic complications associated with obesity," Prof. Ortega explained.
Prof. Ortega conducted this study during his professional stay at the University of South Carolina (USA), in collaboration with Prof. Steven N. Blair, one of the most renowned researchers in the world in the field of physical activity, fitness and health.
Prof. Blair is the coordinator of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS), which includes more than 43,000 people followed-up either for 15 years or until their death.
Prof. Ortega et al. observed in their study that between 30-40 percent of obese patients were metabolically healthy.
"We made two findings: firstly, metabolically-healthy obese people exhibited better cardiorespiratory fitness -or aerobic fitness. Secondly, this subgroup has a lower mortality risk rate for heart disease or cancer than other obese people, and has the same mortality risk than people of normal weight," Dr. Ortega stated.
"This study concludes that, regardless of body weight and fat, people with better aerobic fitness have a lower risk for heart or cancer disease and death.
"This finding means that a more accurate prognosis of the risk for heart or cancer disease in obese people can be achieved if health professionals assess the lipid profile, BMI and fitness of their obese patients," he added.
The study was published in the prestigious journal European Heart Journal.