Not All Obese People are at Risk for Heart Disease

by Jodee on July 3, 2010

Carrying extra pounds is one of the risk factors for heart disease. People who are overweight or obese are encouraged by their loved ones and their doctor to get and maintain a healthy weight to improve heart health, but does everyone who is carrying excess pounds need to do so?

Not necessarily, according to the results of a study conducted by Dutch researchers. The University Medical Center in Groningen’s Dr. Andre van Beek stated that overweight people who are “metabolically healthy” are not at a higher risk for heart disease.

Metabolically Healthy

A metabolically healthy obese person is an individual whose medical history doesn’t include any of the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol or triglycerides
  • Stroke

They are in the minority, though, making up less than seven percent of the 1,325 obese people whose medical records were examined as part of the study.
Lowering Risk for Heart Disease

Since the majority of people who are overweight are at a higher risk of heart disease, losing weight can be part of a plan to reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular issues. Rather than trying to do so by going on a crash diet, a much better (and healthier) approach is to make a plan for slow, steady weight loss.

The weight didn’t go on overnight, and it’s not realistic to expect that it will come off that quickly. Following a balanced diet that is high in fiber and low in fat can help to get to and maintain a healthy weight. Along with a heart-healthy diet, getting regular exercise should be part of the plan, too.

Before starting an exercise program, a person should see a doctor. Starting off slowly will help to make being more physically active part of a lifestyle change, as opposed to a temporary measure designed to get the weight off only. If an individual goes back to his or her original eating habits after losing weight, the weight is likely to creep back up again.

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