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You may be fat, but you may be healthy, too

Posted Oct 03 2008 11:31am
For all the healthcare professionals, don't assume all your obese patients are unhealthy. Don't judge before you do lab test on their blood.


For those who are obese, don't be hopeless on your health, you may be as fit as the normal weight people!

Based on USA's national health data collected from 5,440 adults, it was shown that weight often is not a reliable indicator for health.

In the study, 6 metabolic components were viewed as indicators of cardiovascular health:
  1. Blood pressure
  2. Triglycerides level
  3. Fasting glucose
  4. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
  5. Insulin resistance
  6. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)
For 1 - 5, elevated means abnormal; for 6, lower means abnormal.

For a metabolic healthy adults, they have 0 to 1 metabolic abnormalities; while for a metabolic unhealthy adult, they have 2 or more metabolic abnormalities.

The result, from the 5, 440 adults, 23.5% normal weight adults were metabolically abnormal; while 31.7% of obese adults were metabolically healthy.


Which means: You are not necessary cardiovascularly healthy even if you have normal weight; and you are not necessary cardiovascularly unhealthy even if you are obese.

If you want to know you are metabolically healthy or not, the more proper way will be checking your blood, the 6 metabolic components mentioned above.

So, take away weight issue, behavioral factors play an important role:
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Physical activity
  • Alcohol intake
These factors have more role in altering your metabolic normality in your body.

In addition, role of excessive adipose tissue also still unclear. Adipose tissue is not just a bunch of useless tissue, they are endocrine organ, secreting a variety of hormones and cytokines. Excessive adipose tissues believe to disturb the metabolic pathway in obese people. However, this study showed that this theory may not be completely correct.

One third of the obese people were metabolically healthy, so what is the role of excessive adipose tissue in their body? They are either less responsive to the excessive endocrine secretions; or their adipose tissues do not possess the same endocrine secretory properties of those obese individuals who develop metabolic disorders.

This, lead to a possibility that instead of excessive, the position of the adipose tissue accumulation play a more important role in determining whether a person has higher risk of developing metabolic abnormalities.

Don't get too depressed or happy about your weight, most importantly, you are having a healthy lifestyle:
  1. Be active
  2. No ciggarette
  3. Moderate alcohol intake
  4. Healthy diet
  5. Enough sleep

Reference:
  1. Rachel P. Wildman et al. The Obese Without Cardiometabolic Risk Factor Clustering and the Normal Weight With Cardiometabolic Risk Factor Clustering. Arch Intern Med 2008; 168:1617-1624.
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