Health experts have traditionally believed that obese individuals are invariably at an increased risk of developing heart disease. However, a new study from the United Kingdom finds that may not be true. This report has been published in theÂ Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The study was conducted by team of researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. The study tracked overÂ 22,000 individuals who participated in health studies in England and Scotland. The subjects were all middle-aged and had varying body mass indexes.
Mark Hamer was one of the researchers who worked on the study.Â According to Hamer, the research found that heart disease and obesity were only correlated when other risk factors were present. These risk factors include high blood pressure and unhealthy glucose and cholesterol levels.
The study said that obese individuals without these risk factors aren’t at a higher risk of developing heart disease. However, individuals with a normal body mass index Â with high metabolic risk factors face the same increased risk of developing heart disease as obese individuals.
Additional studies will need to be conducted to verify the results. If the theories can be confirmed, health professionals may need to change the way they assess their patients for risks of developing heart disease. Rather than evaluating their body mass index, they may need to focus primarily on metabolic health factors such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Hamer said the study’s findings shouldn’t discourage people from striving to maintain healthy weight limits. However, it does suggest that physicians may need a different methodology for screening their patients at risk of developing heart disease.
The study found that obese individuals in good metabolic health were not at an increased risk of developing heart disease. However, obese individuals in poor metabolic health were at a slightly higher risk of developing heart disease than non-obese individuals with similar metabolic risk factors.