Healthy obesity as an intermediate state of risk: A critical review
journal contributionposted on 15.08.2016, 08:53 by Joshua A. Bell, Mark Hamer
Introduction: Obesity is a top public health priority but interventions to reverse the condition have had limited success. About 1-in-3 obese adults are free of metabolic risk factor clustering and are considered ‘healthy', and much attention has focused on the implications of this state for obesity management. Areas covered: We searched for individual studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses which examined correlates and outcomes of metabolically healthy obesity. We discuss the key roles of fat distribution and physical activity in determining healthy vs. unhealthy obesity and report a greatly increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes associated with healthy obesity vs. healthy normal-weight, among other outcomes. We argue that despite inconsistencies in the definition, patterns across studies clearly show that healthy obesity is a state of intermediate disease risk. Expert commentary: Given the current state of population-level evidence, we conclude that obesity and metabolic dysfunction are inseparable and that healthy obesity is best viewed only as a state of relative health but not of absolute health. We recommend that weight loss through energy restriction be a stand-alone target in addition to increased physical activity for minimising risk of future disease.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences