Is There Such A Thing As Healthy Obesity? Scientists Think So

Healthy Obesity seems to be nothing more then an oxymoron, but scientists are now saying that there is such a thing.

Researchers from University College Cork in Ireland found that lower levels of inflammation are associated with being metabolically healthy, whether you’re obese or not according to the Huffington Post.

“From a public health standpoint, we need better methods for identifying which obese people face the greatest risk of diabetes and heart disease,” study researcher Catherine Phillips, B.Sc., Ph.D., said in a statement.

“Inflammatory markers offer a potential strategy for pinpointing people who could benefit most from medical interventions.”

Traditionally, a person’s health risks and being labeled obese came from finding their body mass index (BMI).

According to The Telegraph, Professor Matthias Schulzesaid stated the following:

“It’s obvious that just BMI is insufficient to classify risk. That’s nothing new but it’s not received as much attention as it should. There should be a more complex assessment of risk factors.”

According to the Huffington Post, researchers found an association between inflammatory markers and metabolic health of the study participants, no matter their weight.

Being metabolically healthy was indicated by having low levels of white blood cells and acute-phase response proteins (which grow in number during inflammation), as well as higher levels of the anti-inflammatory hormone adiponectin.

Eating Well summarizes the the dangers of chronic inflammation:

“Chronic or systemic inflammation is when the “protect me” signal misfires (which is not a good thing).

‘Essentially, white blood cells inappropriately move into tissues, causing destruction,’ explains Floyd Chilton, Ph.D., director of the NIH-sponsored Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention at Wake Forest Baptist Health School of Medicine in North Carolina.

“This reaction can happen anywhere in your body. ‘If [it] happens in the heart, you wind up with heart disease; if it happens in the joint, it’s arthritis; in the brain, it might be dementia,’ Chilton says.”

So can there be such a thing as a healthy obesity? According to this study, there seems to be a possibility. But Schulze still states that it is still important for obese people to lose weight to help better their health.

[Image via Shutterstock/Fotyma]