- People who were obese and overweight developed metabolic syndrome within 10 years
- Some people who were obese appeared to be healthy and free from heart disease risks
- Metabolically healthy obesity is not a stable or reliable indicator for increasing future risk of heart disease
People who are overweight and obese may want to reduce their weight even if they are not diagnosed with high blood pressure or any other heart disease risk, observes a new study by a research team at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
The research team found that less than half of the people who were considered obese - 30 pounds or overweight were found to develop metabolic syndrome within 10 years which may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, reports a study published the Journal of the American College of Cardiology
‘Metabolic syndrome, a condition with a group of metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels and abdominal fat in the body may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.’
"Common medical wisdom has been that some people who are obese seemed to be pretty healthy and free from heart disease risks, so they haven't been advised to lose weight or take other steps to prevent future heart disease," said Morgana Mongraw-Chaffin, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study.
The study focuses on whether obese people who are metabolically healthy will stay that way or develop metabolic syndrome over time.
Metabolic syndrome is the malfunctioning of energy utilization and storage.
Risk factors associated with Metabolic syndrome includes
- high blood pressure
- high blood sugar
- unhealthy cholesterol levels and abdominal fat
These risk factors double the risk of developing the cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes and increase the risk of diabetes by five times.
Details of the Study
The Wake Forest Baptist study involved 6,809 study participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who were selected from six sites in the United States. Participants with cardiovascular disease were rejected from the study.
The primary objective of the study was to determine the changes in metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) at baseline level whether it remained constant or led to metabolic syndrome thereby increasing the risk of developing a heart and vascular disease. Participants of the study were examined for 12 years. A clinical evaluation was conducted every two years.
Findings of the Study
The research team observed that compared to normal weight, participants with baseline MHO were not significantly associated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Nearly half of the participants were found with metabolic syndrome
over the course of the study and had increased chances of cardiovascular disease compared to those with stable MHO and normal weight.
The aim of the study was mainly designed to find out whether that progression was linked to a higher risk for heart disease, said Mongraw-Chaffin.
The findings of the study show that Metabolically healthy obesity is not a stable or reliable indicator for increasing future risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
"Therefore we recommend that everyone with MHO work with their doctor to lose weight or at least maintain their current weight, exercise more and make other lifestyle changes, so they don't develop metabolic syndrome."
- Morgana Mongraw-Chaffin, Meredith C. Foster, et al. Metabolically Healthy Obesity, Transition to Metabolic Syndrome, and Cardiovascular Risk, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2018)DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.02.055