Does Extra Weight Affect a Healthy Individual?
There’s no question that obesity is a problem in the United States. But over the past few years, medical professionals and the public have considered the controversial topic of “healthy obesity”—and whether such a condition exists. In the United States, the question has been around for decades, and there are almost as many different answers as there are studies involving the question.
Doctors say that someone is obese when they carry too much fat on their bodies, typically measured through the body mass index or BMI. For most adults, obesity kicks in when an individual has a body mass index of 30 or higher – between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy, while 25-29.9 is considered overweight.
In recent years, the conversation has turned to the overall health of individuals that are considered obese, as measured by their BMI, but who have no markers of heart disease. The question now is whether an individual who is obese by BMI standards, but who are “metabolically healthy” – people whose cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar ranges are normal, can actually be considered healthy. Many outlets have weighed in, including the New York Times’ wellness blog and even TIME magazine.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in April 2014 showed that in a study of more than 14,000 Korean adults, those who were “metabolically healthy” with no known heart problems, but who were obese still had a higher occurrence of arterial plaque when compared to individuals of normal weight. There’s a catch though – researchers defined obesity as BMI over 25 – in the U.S., that obese measurement is 30 or higher.
There seems to be consensus in the notion though, that carrying extra weight does take a toll on one’s body, whether they have arterial plaque, other hallmarks of heart disease, or are otherwise healthy.