The debate over whether or not obese people can be metabolically healthy has been ongoing for some time. Some studies have shown that obese people can be metabolically healthy, while other studies have shown that obese people are at increased risk for chronic diseases. The exact prevalence of metabolically healthy obese people is unknown, but it is thought to be a small percentage of the overall obese population. The exact mechanisms by which some obese people remain metabolically healthy are also unknown.
There are several possible explanations for why some obese people are metabolically healthy. One possibility is that they have a higher level of fitness than other obese people. Another possibility is that they have a more favorable body composition, with a higher proportion of lean mass to fat mass. Another possibility is that they have a more favorable hormonal profile, with higher levels of adiponectin and lower levels of insulin.
It is also possible that some obese people are simply lucky and have no underlying health problems that are exacerbated by their weight. Obese people who are metabolically healthy tend to have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The baffling case of metabolically healthy obese people: Are they protected from chronic diseases?
by Samuel Klein
May 10, 2016
It has long been known that obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. But what has been less clear is why some obese people seem to be protected from these diseases, despite their excess weight.
Now, a new study has shed light on this mystery, finding that a small group of obese people who are metabolically healthy may have a genetic advantage that helps protect them from chronic diseases.
The study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, analyzed the genomes of more than 700,000 people of European descent, including both obese and non-obese individuals. The researchers found that a small subset of obese people (about 3 percent) are metabolically healthy, meaning they do not have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
Interestingly, the metabolically healthy obese individuals tended to have a different genetic profile than their unhealthy counterparts. In particular, they were more likely to have variants of genes that have been linked to a lower risk of obesity-related diseases.
This suggests that there may be a genetic basis for the baffling phenomenon of metabolically healthy obesity. And it raises the possibility that some people may be able to stay healthy despite their excess weight because of their genes.
Of course, this does not mean that obesity is a good thing. The large majority of obese people are still at increased risk for chronic diseases. But the new study provides an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the complex relationship between obesity and health.