The concept of being “fit but fat” is a myth, researchers have said.
A study found that even if people have healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, being overweight or obese still carries a higher risk of coronary heart disease.
Researchers, led by experts at Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, examined data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study of half a million people.
Over more than 12 years of follow-up examinations, 7,637 participants across eight European countries suffered coronary heart disease incidents including heart attacks.
The researchers examined participants’ body mass index and whether they were metabolically “healthy” or “unhealthy” — people were classed as unhealthy if they had three or more of a number of metabolic markers, including high blood pressure/sugar, low levels of HDL cholesterol, or an “elevated” waist circumference.
Even overweight and obese people deemed to be “healthy” by their metabolic markers carried a higher risk.
Being overweight carries a 26% increased risk of coronary heart disease and being obese carries a 28% increased risk, according to the study.
Lead author Camille Lassale said: “Our findings suggest that if a patient is overweight or obese, all efforts should be made to help them get back to a healthy weight, regardless of other factors.
“Even if their blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol appear within the normal range, excess weight is still a risk factor.”
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