A new Kaiser Permanente study finds that a small minority of overweight and obese people have none of the traditional risk factors that are usually associated with diabetes and heart disease. Researchers found that among the 1.3 million overweight and obese people studied, 14 percent had normal blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure measurements. Some experts have dubbed these people "metabolically healthy obese," but that term may be misleading because, while these people may be less likely than other obese people to develop heart disease and diabetes, they remain at higher risk than people of normal weight. In addition, they have a higher risk of developing other diseases and of dying earlier than people who are not obese. This study is one of the largest to date to quantify the number of obese people without these risk factors. Researchers say they don't fully understand why some obese people do not develop diabetes or heart disease and that better prevention and treatment strategies are needed.
The study will be published in Preventing Chronic Disease, the official journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today, Thursday, March 09th at 9 am pacific time.