Study challenges concept of 'healthy' obesity

April 30, 2014
This is an image of a weight scale. Credit: CDC/Debora Cartagena

Obese individuals who have no signs of cardiovascular disease show a much higher prevalence of early plaque buildup in the arteries compared to healthy normal weight individuals, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study challenges the idea of "healthy" obesity, and researchers recommend all obese individuals be counseled about their risks for cardiovascular disease and receive tips for achieving a healthy weight.

Obesity can often lead to cardiovascular disease through the development of dyslipidemia (abnormal amounts of fat or cholesterol in the blood), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypertension (high blood pressure)—all common conditions in obese individuals. But, the idea of "healthy" obese, individuals whose body weight puts them in the obese category but they show no signs of cardiovascular disease, is controversial.

Researchers in this study looked at 14, 828 metabolically healthy Korean adults aged 30 to 59 years who had no known and had undergone a health checkup including cardiac tomography estimation of scores, which is a measure of calcium build up in the plaque on artery walls. CAC scoring can determine early stage , such as atherosclerosis, before symptoms are present. Obesity or normal weight was determined using a standard Asian body mass index scale.

Based on CAC scores, were found to have a much higher prevalence of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis, or early-stage plaque buildup in the arteries, than their counterparts. Atherosclerosis, if not managed, can lead to heart attack and sudden cardiac death, among other .

"Obese individuals who are considered 'healthy' because they don't currently have heart disease risk factors, should not be assumed healthy by their doctors," said Yoosoo Chang, MD, lead author of the study and professor at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital Total Healthcare Center Center for Cohort Studies in Seoul, Korea. "Our research shows that the presence of obesity is enough to increase a person's risk of future heart disease and that the disease may already be starting to form in their body. It's important that these people learn this while they still have time to change their diet and exercise habits to prevent a future cardiovascular event."

Explore further: Calcium score predicts future heart disease among adults with little or no risk factors

Related Stories

Calcium score predicts future heart disease among adults with little or no risk factors

April 15, 2014
With growing evidence that a measurement of the buildup of calcium in coronary arteries can predict heart disease risk, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) researchers found that the process of "calcium ...

Metabolically healthy obesity does not guarantee clean bill of health

November 20, 2013
Obese people who are currently metabolically healthy face a higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to new research accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical ...

CT measures potentially dangerous arterial plaque in diabetic patients

April 22, 2014
Imaging of the coronary arteries with computed tomography (CT) angiography provides an accurate assessment of arterial plaque and could have a dramatic impact on the management of diabetic patients who face a high risk of ...

Study shows link between high birth weight and heart disease

March 25, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Babies born with high birth weight may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood, according to a University of Sydney study.

Number of babies mom has may play role in future cardiovascular health

March 28, 2014
Women who give birth to four or more children are much more likely to have evidence of plaque in their heart or thickening of their arteries – early signs of cardiovascular disease – compared with those having fewer pregnancies, ...

Study shows increased risk for cardiovascular disease in youth with HIV

February 25, 2014
Nearly half of adolescents who have had HIV since birth may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease—including heart attack and stroke—later in life, according to a National Institutes of Health network study.

Recommended for you

Researchers investigate the potential of spider silk protein for engineering artificial heart

August 18, 2017
Ever more people are suffering from cardiac insufficiency, despite significant advances in preventing and minimising damage to the heart. The main cause of reduced cardiac functionality lies in the irreversible loss of cardiac ...

Lasers used to detect risk of heart attack and stroke

August 18, 2017
Patients at risk of heart attacks and strokes may be spotted earlier thanks to a diagnosis tool that uses near-infrared light to identify high-risk arterial plaques, according to research carried out at WMG, University of ...

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

'Fat but fit' are at increased risk of heart disease

August 14, 2017
Carrying extra weight could raise your risk of heart attack by more than a quarter, even if you are otherwise healthy.

Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact

August 14, 2017
Exposure to high levels of air pollution increased stress hormone levels and negative metabolic changes in otherwise healthy, young adults in a recent study conducted in China. Air purifiers appeared to lessen the negative ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.