Obese women who do not have type 2 diabetes or other metabolic health-related conditions are still at significant risk of having a stroke or heart attack, researchers have said.
To investigate why certain people who are severely obese suffer from metabolic diseases and some don’t, German researchers set about investigating differences in 90,000 US women who had normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and no diagnosed diabetes.
The findings showed those who were severely overweight were between 20-39% more likely to develop some form of cardiovascular disease when compared to females recorded at a healthier weight.
Professor Matthias Schulze, from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, who led the study, said: “Our large cohort study confirms that metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition, and even women who remain free of metabolic diseases for decades face an increased risk of cardiovascular events.”
Schulze and colleagues also found that women who were deemed metabolically unhealthy but were of a normal weight were nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those of the same weight who were metabolically healthy. The risk increased in the females who were obese.
While obesity and type 2 diabetes rates are alarmingly high in the UK, research is growing that eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help reduce the risk of weight gain and even put type 2 diabetes into remission.
Professor Schulze added: “Our findings highlight the importance of preventing the development of metabolic diseases. They suggest that even individuals in good metabolic health may benefit from early behavioural management to improve their diet and increased physical activity in order to guard against progression to poor metabolic health.”
Benedict Jephcote, Editor of Diabetes.co.uk, said: “The take-home message from this study is that those who are at a healthy weight, and metabolically healthy too, are in the best position to avoid heart disease. This can be achieved by eat real, unprocessed foods and prioritising non-starchy vegetables over starchy foods.
“In 2015, we launched our Low Carb Program which helps people to choose a way of eating that can help people achieve better metabolic health. The program has allowed people to achieve great success and many people have found it to be so successful that they no longer need some of their diabetes medication.”
The findings of the study have been published in The Lancet Diabetes &Endocrinology journal.

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