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Study Debunks Notion of 'Healthy Obese' Man
Date:12/28/2009

Heart risks may take years to show up, but they're there, study finds

MONDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- No man who is fat is truly healthy over the long term, a new study finds.

"There appears to be no such thing as metabolically healthy obesity," said a statement by Dr. Johan Arnlov, an associate professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at Uppsala University, and lead author of a report published online Dec. 28 in the journal Circulation.

That assessment is based on a study that has followed almost 1,800 Swedish men, starting at age 50, for an unusually long time, 30 years, recording those who died or had a cardiovascular problem such as a heart attack or stroke.

Arnlov and his colleagues measured not only obesity, but also the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors -- high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides (fats), low HDL ("good") cholesterol and a broad waist size (40 inches for men, 35 for women). Metabolic syndrome is the presence of three or more of these risk factors.

Previous studies have found no increased cardiovascular risk in obese men who did not have the metabolic syndrome, giving rise to the notion that there was a "healthy obesity."

But the new report indicates that those studies didn't follow the participants long enough. Problems only become more evident after 15 years or so, the researchers found.

Using the body-mass index, which matches height and weight and lists a score of 30 as obese and 25 to 30 as overweight, the study found that over the 30-year period, the risk of cardiovascular disease was 63 percent higher in men of normal weight who had metabolic syndrome, compared to normal-weight men who did not have metabolic syndrome. It was 52 percent higher in overweight men without metabolic syndrome, 74 percent higher in overweight men with metabolic syndrome, 95 percent higher in obese men wit
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